VILNIUS, Apr 20, BNS – The exercise of structures subordinate to the Interior Ministry in the Salcininkai district, southeastern Lithuania, was needed and had nothing to do with the national minority living there, although some statements during the event were offensive, says Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.
"This was an exercise we had never had before. Neither the police, nor border guards had been notified, it was an actual training rather than a show-off when things are done when everyone knows in advance who will attack and who will win. Yes, the exercise was not a standard one. And unfortunately, the first attempt needs improvement," the prime minister said during the government's question-and-answer session at the parliament on Thursday.
One of the officers of the interior system involved in the exercise simulated an armed invader who proclaimed the People's Republic of Salcininkai, an allusion to actions of separatists in Eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian forces established republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.
The Interior Ministry's training focused on response to troops wearing uniforms without any distinguishing signs. The scenario reminds the 2014 annexation of Crimea when Russian troops entered the region with civilian clothing and uniforms without any signs. The Russian forces were dubbed as "little green men."
Under the tactical training scenario worked out by instructions from Interior Ministry Eimutis Misiunas, special forces of a country hostile to Lithuania have illegally crossed the border and readied to take over one of the border checkpoints and the Salcininkai police station.
By Jurate Skeryte
Vilnius newsroom, email@example.com, +370 5 239 64 16