Russian Aggression Spurs Lithuania to Prepare for Possible Invasion

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Many thought the fall of the Soviet Union would bring a new era of peace and stability to Europe. But the Soviet Union was replaced by something potentially far more dangerous – Vladimir Putin. And many nations on Russia’s border are worried about Russian intentions, including the tiny Baltic state of Lithuania.

In the forests outside the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, civilians train in military tactics and guerilla warfare. Lithuania is preparing for a Russian invasion. Citizens are learning how to survive on their own in the forest, how to collect and filter water and how to build makeshift shelters and stoves.

This might seem like some kind of paranoid over-reaction, but Lithuania, which shares a border with Russia and which has a terrible history of invasion and genocide at the hands of Moscow, is deadly serious. And recent Russian aggression in other former Soviet republics has spurred this nation of 3 million people to mobilize.

Žilvinas Pastarnoka of Defense Projects, one of the leaders of the guerilla warfare training says, “Just look at Ukraine, look at Syria. It’s the duty of young and old to be prepared to protect their homeland.”

NATO’s Show of Solidarity

But the Lithuanians have not been left to fight on their own. The Americans are here as part of a NATO deployment by several nations to deter a Russian invasion.

When CBN News arrived at Rukla military base, soldiers of the U.S. 503rd Infantry Airborne Battalion and Lithuanian troops were learning life-saving medical skills during a live fire exercise.

The paratroopers of Able Company are learning how to keep their comrades alive on the battlefield. They’re training for a hot war in Europe. They’re trying to simulate the pressure of combat.

“We have different tasks they’re being evaluated on,” Captain Tony Formica, the company commander, said.

“We’re assuring our NATO allies through our presence here and deterring any possible aggression by continually showing our readiness, our overall lethality and our ability to operate with our NATO allies and partners,” Formica said.

In the likely event that U.S. troops are outnumbered in a Russian invasion, today’s exercise is to make sure every shot fired from their M4 rifles is a lethal shot.

Captain Formica says he’s impressed with the caliber of the Lithuanian soldier.

“They have a very compelling belief in the defense of their country,” he said. “The other thing we’ve been impressed with is their overall professionalism.”

Lithuanian Sgt. Maj. Linas Anskaitis said, “Our battalion conscripts are very, very happy, very motivated when they get the opportunity to train together with the U.S. guys.”

‘It’s Not Science Fiction’

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SOURCE: CBN News – Dale Hurd