We must monitor situation as Russia becomes instability zone – Lithuanian defmin

  • 2023-06-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas has stressed the need to monitor the situation in the neighborhood and be ready to respond after Russia became a zone of instability following the weekend's mutiny by the Wagner military group.

"With no doubt, we must react to the fact that Russia itself is becoming a zone of instability. Undoubtedly, this raises additional concern about what is going to happen in our neighborhood, if we are talking about (Wagner leader Yevgeny) Prigozhin in Belarus or the possible emergence of his mercenaries in this country. We must monitor the situation and react accordingly," the minister told reporters in Vilnius on Monday.

"Of course, this issue has just appeared on our agenda but, in any case, it only confirms our conviction that allied forces in Lithuania must be sufficient, together with our armed forces, to face a wide range of threats," Anusauskas said after his meeting with his German counterpart Boris Pistorius.

The German defense minister echoed his Lithuanian counterpart's stance, saying that "Russia is a rather unstable and unpredictable country".

"Basically, the Wagner groups are now being moved to Belarus, and we don't know what that means. But this doesn’t mean that we cannot move the brigade to Lithuania. We are exchanging information with NATO and we are monitoring the situation. We are vigilant and we need to make sure that we can react appropriately and quickly," Pistorius said.

The unrest in Russia began on Friday after Wagner, a private military group, said the country's military leadership had ordered the shelling of their positions.

Shortly afterwards, Wagner took control of the military bases in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and threatened to march on Moscow to overthrow the country's military leadership.

However, on Saturday night, Wagner's leader Yevgeny Prigozhin announced a retreat and his forces left the taken positions.

The Kremlin later announced that Prigozhin would leave for Belarus and that the law enforcement investigation against him would be dropped.

The incident is seen as one of the biggest challenges to Russian President Vladimir Putin's long rule and the most serious security crisis in the country since he came to power in 1999.