An effort to whip up fear of a Russian invasion in Lithuania was a disappointment for the authorities after local people paid no attention to the operation.
Around 700 members of the Lithuanian security forces took part in the exercise in the south-west of the country. They practiced an invasion in which “little green men” wearing unmarked camouflage tried to take control of the border post and police department in in the town of Salcininkai.
However, Lithuanian Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas was disappointed with the performance of many of the security services who took part.
“The invasion of Lithuania by ‘little green men’ who disembarked from a train was simulated. The inspectors weren’t prepared, they didn’t evaluate the situation properly. Also, the vests were inappropriate and the inspectors’ weapons and tactics weren’t good enough,” Misiunas said, RIA Novosti reported.
He said that during the operation, about 30 commandos, wearing unmarked camouflage, took control of the police station, “killing” some police officers as they did so.
The interior ministry was also disappointed with the indifferent reaction of the locals, who completely failed to react to the “threat” of invasion. Despite the drama, Misiunas said that Lithuania’s Emergency Response Center didn’t receive a single call about the “little green men” running around the town.
While the residents of Lithuania are unworried about the possibility of foreign invasion, the authorities are set to continue to carry out the exercises in an effort to whip up fear of a non-existent threat, Dmitry Ofitserov-Belsky, told associate professor of politics at Russia’s Higher School of Economics.
“The story here has some similarities to the old one about the boy who cried wolf, only then the wolves actually came. However, here I can say straightaway that of course Russia doesn’t have any military-strategic plans with regard to the Baltic countries and won’t have in the future. All the insinuations by governments in the Baltics are pointless.”
“As we see, the people of Lithuania don’t have any problems with the current political situation. However, the problem is that the Lithuanian government seems to have set itself a goal of instilling a sense of nervousness in the Lithuanian people. The first exercise was a failure, but maybe that was expected. They are trying to train Lithuanians to react like Pavlov’s dog when they see people in camouflage.”
“These exercises will probably continue and in the end it can be expected that some civil activists will really start calling when they see a fisherman or a mushroom picker in camouflage somewhere in the forest.”
“The biggest problem here is in the hysteria. They didn’t manage to generate hysteria with the help of the media or other methods, so now it seems they are doing this.”