We have information that acts of sabotage may recur – Lithuanian president

  • 2024-05-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Provocations may recur, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says after several person allegedly linked to sabotage in Poland and the IKEA fire in Vilnius were detained.

"Unfortunately, we have information that such acts of sabotage can happen again. Of course, our institutions are vigilant, they are aware of the possible threats and they will certainly do everything to prevent such acts and to apprehend the perpetrators," Nauseda told the public radio LRT radio on Tuesday.

In his words, it's important for the population to understand the geopolitical reality in which they live.

"When our opponents, our enemies (...) will try to destabilize our internal political situation, we have to do everything we can to prevent them from doing so," the president said.

Poland has arrested nine members of a Russian spy ring in connection with suspected sabotage plots, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced on Monday, mentioning Lithuania among the countries possibly targeted by saboteurs.

"At the moment, we have arrested and charged 9 suspects who were directly involved in acts of sabotage in Poland, ordered by Russian services," Tusk told the private broadcaster TVN24 on Monday.

"And it equally involves citizens of Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland," he said, hinting that some of them may have been recruited from the criminal world.

According to Tusk, the detained persons are accused of "battery, arson, attempted arson". He also said that these Russian plots had to do not only with Poland, but also with Lithuania, Latvia and possibly Sweden.

An international investigation is underway, he said.

Tusk mentioned several examples, and one of them was an attempt to set fire to a paint factory in Wroclaw, western Poland, and the IKEA store in Vilnius.

The public will be better informed on this matter over the upcoming days, he said.

Tusk also revealed that Warsaw had prevented several acts of sabotage thanks to the vigilance of Polish services and allies.

In recent weeks, Warsaw has announced the arrest of a man suspected of helping Russian intelligence to prepare a possible attack on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as a Belarusian suspected of having masterminded the March attack on Leonid Volkov, a close friend and ally of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in Vilnius.

Warsaw has also arrested two Poles responsible for the attack.

Poland has been an strong supporter of Ukraine since the start of the war and is a major transit country for Western arms supplies.