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Lithuania: new phase of preparation for Russian occupation

Lithuanian authorities are doing everything possible to be ready to meet the occupants in the event of Russian aggression, Der Spiegel's journalists write.

The article of the German newspaper Der Spiegel "Lithuania prepares people for Russian invasion" reports that the Lithuanian authorities are wary of Russia's attack, and give the citizens advices on how to behave in the event of war. "Keep a clear head and do not break into panic," the Ministry of Defence urges in the manual. "Gunshots right outside your window does not mean the end of the world."

In the case of Russian invasion the Lithuanians should organize on Twitter and Facebook and try to start cyber attacks against the enemy. In addition, citizens should resist the invaders with the help of demonstrations, strikes, or at least slowdowns at work. The manual with recommendations will be distributed in libraries and at military events.

Since the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, the Lithuanians are afraid of the fact that after the annexation of Crimea Russia can invade in their country. Only in December, in the Kaliningrad exclave which borders on Lithuania, Russia carried out military exercises with 9,000 soldiers and 55 warships.

"The example of Georgia and Ukraine, who both have lost the parts of their territories, shows us that here we can not rule out a similar situation and that we should be prepared," said Juozas Olekas, the Minister of Defence of Lithuania. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis Lithuania has incredibly increased conscription rate and military resources.

"When Russia started its aggression in Ukraine, our citizens understood here in Lithuania that our neighbor is not nice," Olekas added. Now the Lithuanian government is considering the construction of new buildings only with air-raid shelters.

Recently, in Lithuania, there was presented a new manual entitled "How to act in extreme situations or instances of war". It is reported that the hasty release of the book was prompted by "the threat of a Russian invasion."

The book consisting of nearly 100 pages will be distributed in secondary schools, public libraries and non-governmental organizations. According to the official, an e-book version will soon appear on the website of the Ministry. Olekas noted that the manual is particularly important due to "Russia's recurring aggression against its neighbors – presently in Ukraine."

Unlike Latvia and Estonia, the number of the Russian population in Lithuania is relatively small and is about 6%. However, its common border with the Kaliningrad region, where "one of the biggest military bases" of Russia is located, as well as its participation in NATO "has raised its geographical significance" to Moscow.