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NATO country prepares population for war

All civilians in Lithuania may join military reserve units, the country’s Defense Ministry has announced

Lithuania is establishing permanent military training centers that will operate nationwide to prepare personnel to serve in the rear during war, Defense Minister Laurynas Kasciunas told reporters on Friday.

A total of 27 command headquarters that are due to be fully operational next year will be set up in the major cities of the NATO member country in an effort to “prepare the public to send a deterrent signal to the enemy,” the official said.

The Baltic state’s Defense Ministry expects such command posts to become a “link between the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the citizens who can defend the country with arms” in the event of war.

“We are talking about the fact that the public will already know where to go if they want to contribute to the defense of their homes and country,” Kasciunas explained.

He further clarified the purpose of these territorial defense units by saying that they will “fight against diverse groups, protect objects and carry out other tasks.”

The bill submitted to the Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas, envisages the command centers having units under their command made up of existing reserve troops, riflemen, as well as all owners of firearms, including hunters.

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According to Kasciunas, some 10,600 members in civilian reserves, around 2,000 riflemen, and 800 members of the National Defense Volunteer Forces are expected to join.

The official encouraged the wider public to enlist, saying that “all civilians” may join and that “everyone will find their place” in the units.

Earlier this week, Germany sent its first military unit to Lithuania as part of a plan to have a full armor brigade permanently stationed in the Baltic state. Under the plan, the 5,000-strong brigade will be stationed less than 20km (12 miles) from the border with Belarus, a key Russian ally. Lithuania also borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Moscow perceives the movement of NATO capabilities closer to its borders as a provocation and a threat to its national security.


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