Exercise Lightning Strike, involving Lithuanian and British troops, was launched on Wednesday. Based on the “invasion” of Crimea, Lithuania is sending a message to Russia: they will never let go without a fight.
Sputnik News reported that Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said the annexation of Crimea is “the result of a military takeover.”
“We will not allow ourselves to be taken easily,” Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told Reuters. “We try to learn from the Ukrainian and Crimean situation…We’re not fearing anybody,” she added, referencing the often cited, though never proven, allegation that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was the result of a military takeover.
More than 3,000 Lithuanian troops will partake in Ex Lightning Strike.
Wednesday morning, the exercise started on a floating liquid natural gas terminal. One of the first task was to guard against protesters after a simulated explosion on the platform.
Ex Lightning Strike will also involve simulated seizures of government building, airport and weapon stockpile.
Sputnik News also reported the soldiers will deal with ‘little green men.”
“The exercise will involve dealing with what can be generally called the ‘little green men’,” spokesman for Lithuanian Army’s Joint Staff, Donatas Suchockis, told Reuters. That term has been used by various European nations to refer to Russian officers they imagine to be mere moments from invasion.
Ex Lightning Strike is Lithuania’s latest escalation against the alleged Russian intention to invade the Baltic States. Lithuania’s President Grybauskaite publicly called Russia a terrorist state.
To counter Russia’s aggression in the Baltic States, Lithuania reinstated the draft and also started to teach civilians what to do in the event of a war.
Although I agree with NATO exercises for defensive purposes, I do not believe Lithuania needs to flex muscles against Russia. In my opinion, this is a form of unnecessary provocation.
That said, I understand Lithuania’s position and their constant need of support by stronger NATO countries. Since they are a NATO member, it is understandable that strong members will support them. However, they are not in a position to publicly provoke Russia, especially due to its military size.
Is it NATO’s right to conduct training in it member countries and I support it, however. The only thing that really bothers me is the message Lithuania is sending to Russia.
British soldiers are also participating in an exercise with Estonia. The Estonian Army will deploy more than 7,000 reservists for the joint training, once again aimed at countering “Russian aggression” in the Baltic States. The British deployment of troops is meant to reassure Baltic nations.
(Featured image courtesy of © DELFI (V.Spurytės nuotr.))