Lithuania launched a military exercise on Wednesday to simulate an attack on its new gas terminal, a move its strongly anti-Moscow president said was intended to show the Kremlin that the tiny country would defend itself.
The scenario is modeled on last year’s capture of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula by Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms and civilian clothes, who came to be known as the “little green men” when Moscow initially denied their identity.
We will not allow ourselves to be taken easily
President Dalia Grybauskaite told Reuters. “We try to learn from the Ukrainian and Crimean situation … We’re not fearing anybody.”
Some 3,000 troops will be involved in this week’s “Lightning Strike” exercise, simulating a response to armed groups seizing local government buildings, weapons stockpiles and airports to form a separatist government, as happened in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine.
“The exercise will involve dealing with what can be generally called the ‘little green men’,” Donatas Suchockis, spokesman for Lithuanian Army’s Joint Staff, told Reuters. It began in Klaipeda port, where “Independence”, a floating liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal, arrived last year. An explosion was simulated in a gas pipeline connected to the terminal, while guards dealt with “protesters” circling it in small boats.