The public in Lithuania is too nervous about Zapad 2017, a large-scale military exercise that has started in Russia and Belarus, Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said on Thursday morning.
Raimundas Karoblis
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

"This is what worries me most. It seems to me that we scare ourselves more than it is adequate in the situation," he said on LRT Radio.

According to the minister, the situation was more complicated half a year ago than it is now, but the Baltic states and Poland managed to convince NATO that the Alliance as a whole had to be ready for the war games.

"When we spoke about Zapad and voiced our position, half a year ago the situation at our borders looked more serious than it is now. Our actions in drawing NATO's attention to Zapad and putting all intelligence bodies, all NATO bodies, our allies on that path, and all joint actins and tactical moves -- drills are taking place in Poland, as is the Aurora exercise near Sweden -- have made Zapad a matter of not only Poland and the Baltic countries, but also of NATO as a whole. This is our biggest gain," he said.

Karoblis underlined that Zapad 2017 poses a minimal threat, adding that one of the neighbors' goals is to intimidate the Baltic countries.

The Russia-Belarus joint exercise formally begins on Thursday and will run through September 20. Moscow says that the war games involve fewer than 13, 000 troops, but Western officials believe that around 100, 000 soldiers will actually take part.

Lithuania military intelligence says that the Zapad scenario will very likely include an armed conflict with NATO. With part of the drills taking place close to the Lithuanian border, Lithuanian officials do not rule out possible incidents and provocations.

BNS
It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.

Justice Minister richest in terms of assets, Prime Minister among "poorest" (1)

Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevicius is the richest member of the Lithuanian government , having...

Four millionaires among Lithuanian lawmakers

There are four millionaires among Lithuanian lawmakers and they include Ramunas Karbauskis , leader...

President-elect: ruling parties putting pressure on Parliament speaker

The ruling parties are putting pressure on Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis , seeking his...

Outgoing president's two advisors among new ambassadorial candidates (1)

Lithuania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday nominated seven new candidates for ambassadorial...

Pope appoints archbishop Pajic as apostolic nuncio to Lithuania

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Petar Pajic as apostolic nuncio to Lithuania, the...