Lithuania's defense chief on 'saboteurs' claims: Russia seeks pretext for invasion

  • 2022-02-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Moscow's claims that Russian forces have killed five Ukrainian "saboteurs" is an attempt to falsify a pretext for an invasion, Lithuania's Chief of Defense Valdemaras Rupsys said on Monday. 

"It is a beginning. It is already happening, but I am not saying that we can now draw any conclusions about where the end is or what the goals are, but it already a beginning," the lieutenant general told journalists.

"It is probably clear to everybody – to us, to the global community and, I think, to some Russians – that this is simply the search for a pretext and an artificially created situation, and I am very sure that there is no involvement of Ukrainians there," he added.

Deputy Defense Minister Zilvinas Tomkus said that information coming from Russia "has to be taken critically". 

"It is a fact that we are going to have a large flow of disinformation in such circumstances," he added. 

The Russian military said earlier on Monday that it had killed five "saboteurs" who crossed into Russia from Ukraine, and had destroyed two combat vehicles allegedly belonging to the Ukrainian armed forces.

This is the latest in a series of statements coming amid high tensions over Moscow's troop buildup on Ukraine's borders and Western fears that the Kremlin could stage an incident that would serve as a pretext to invade its neighbor.