Counter-terrorism efforts and the migration crisis will reduce the international community's attention on the security situation in Eastern Europe and will have a negative effect upon Lithuania, according to Lithuanian intelligence assessments.
© AFP/Scanpix

The twin new threats will also push the Western world to cooperate more with Russia, Lithuanian intelligence institutions say.

"As the threat of terrorism increases, the attention of Western countries to Russia's aggressive policies will subside and the migration crisis will continue fragmenting the European Union's (EU) unity," said an assessment of threats to national security published by the State Security Department and the Defense Ministry's Second Investigation Department on Wednesday.

Counter-terrorism efforts and the migration crisis should top the agenda of the European Union, NATO and many countries this year, consequently having "a negative impact on Lithuania, as this will reduce the attention on the security situation in Eastern Europe and escalate preparations for cooperation with Russia" it said.

"Russia is attempting to persuade the West that sincere cooperation in the efforts against terrorism and other problems of international security is only possible if NATO gives up its defence commitments and increase of capacities in Eastern Europe," reads the document.

According to the report, the aggressiveness of Moscow's foreign policies grew last year, while economic difficulties had a minor effect upon the operations of Russian intelligence and security services.

On the other hand, the display of military power in the Baltic Sea region saw a relative decrease in 2015 year-on-year, which could have been caused by financing problems, involvement in operations in Syria and Ukraine or "demonstration of alleged constructive spirit" aimed at shifting the focus to Syria.

In their analysis of Russia's military preparations, Lithuanian intelligence institutions noted Moscow's readiness to very quickly relocate its capacities and isolate a specific region in case of war.

"Russia seeks to make its military response time considerably shorter than that of NATO. Already now it would be able to generate and relocate capacities within 24-48 hours, and the capacities would be sufficient for combat action against the Baltic states," reads the document.

Lithuanian officials say that the probability of terrorist attacks in Western Europe will increase this year but remain low in Lithuania. Last year, intelligence institutions failed to establish any terrorist or extremist groups operating in Lithuania, with no data available about involvement of Lithuanian citizens in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

BNS
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