Russia’s readiness to start using military force has shrunk from weeks to hours, the Lithuanian defense minister said

According to him in an interview with Lithuanian public radio, Russia could take such a step at the time when US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet in Geneva.

“At the time of the talks in Geneva or elsewhere, Russia may use military force to strengthen its negotiating position,” the minister said.

“It simply came to our notice then [Krievijas un Baltkrievijas mācībās] “Zapad”, which we have seen recently – the Russians are really able to transport large forces over long distances, concentrate a certain potential and reallocate it quite quickly. The risks are increasing because the warning time for tightening (..) has been reduced to a minimum, “he explained.

“The time of warning is when we see concrete preparations for, say, a conventional attack, the use of force. If we used to be able to watch it for a month, now it can shrink to hours.”

Asked if this meant that Russia could mobilize its forces for war within a few hours, the minister replied: “Yes, no doubt.”

As Anušauskas emphasized, he is talking not only about Ukraine, but also about the situation in Belarus, which has in fact always been close to Russia in military terms, but is now “in fact and legally locked in a common war machine”.

According to him, the possibility of deploying a military force very quickly in comparison with NATO countries is also determined by the specifics of Russia, as it is enough for a direct order of President Vladimir Putin to the commander of the armed forces.

The Minister has indicated that Lithuania is following the deployment of troops in Belarus, but does not publish the information. According to Anušauskas, how quickly the forces deployed in Belarus could be deployed will depend on which tactical battalion groups will be transferred to Lithuania’s neighboring country.

“The situation is that Russia will soon be our neighbor on our eastern border. To some extent, this is already the case – we know that a military base has been set up in the Grodno region and that Russian aviation is actually patrolling along our borders without Belarus.” he told me.

At the same time, the Lithuanian Minister of Defense acknowledged that the risks are real, but that in order to escalate into a real threat and escalate into a military provocation, not only the concentration of the army but also the political decisions that are still awaited are needed.

According to Anušauskas, Russia’s talks with the United States and NATO, demanding that Ukraine and other countries not join the alliance, have not started by accident.

“They have made ultimate demands and are now trying to give the impression that this is a response to NATO’s actions, even though we know that NATO’s action is quite limited and I can say without hesitation that military dominance in the region has always been and is On the Russian side, “the minister said.

Assessing the militarization of the Kaliningrad region of Russia, he emphasized that both the amount of military equipment deployed there and its ability to mobilize quickly has increased several times, and state-of-the-art equipment is being deployed there, and new troops and units are being built.

According to Anušauskas, “one must be prepared for different scenarios”, but there are no signs yet that there are any preparations for a possible conventional attack in the Kaliningrad region.

“Currently, we are seeing more military activity in the Kaliningrad region, we are seeing a process, there are military preparations, there is some movement going on, but I would say that there is no process that can be described as preparing for a conventional attack,” the minister said.

He emphasized the need for the West to reject Russia’s ultimate demands in future talks, and hoped that Blinken would take such a firm stance in the Geneva talks, but that Russia would decide to go to war in Ukraine if it wanted to strengthen its negotiating position.

Russia will try to put maximum pressure, use every opportunity. I think that in the near future (..) it will also activate military elements against Ukraine to move the negotiations to a more favorable course. This is the practice of aggressors, and it is nothing new in history if it is lacking. political argument, “said Anušauskas
He acknowledged that diplomacy was always the best way to deal with crises, but warned that making concessions to an aggressor could prove dangerous.

“There is a simple question that countries could have asked eighty years ago and are still asking: will concessions to the aggressor stop the aggression? Our historical experience in Europe shows that this is not the case, and concessions at the expense of other countries’ security could only encourage the aggressor,” he said. Minister.

As Russia draws large forces and military equipment to Ukraine’s borders, there is growing concern in the West about the possibility of a serious military conflict in Europe, .

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