2021.11.04 09:55

Lithuania updates national security strategy: Russia, Belarus, China among key threats

BNS2021.11.04 09:55

The Lithuanian government has approved an updated National Security Strategy highlighting threats from Russia, Belarus, and China.

The strategy was previously discussed by the State Defence Council, chaired by the Lithuanian president, and will now go to the parliament for a final vote.

“The international system is becoming increasingly unpredictable due to global and regional processes that have emerged in recent years,” the document reads.

“As the confrontation between authoritarian and democratic states intensifies, authoritarian states, in particular the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, are posing new challenges to Western democracies, their partners and the Euro-Atlantic community as a whole,” it says, noting that Lithuania needs to adapt to the changes and to be able to operate in a less predictable environment.

Authoritarianism, unpredictability named key threats

The strategy emphasises that Lithuania does not consider any country to be its enemy and that it contributes to international peace and comprehensive security based on the promotion of freedom and democracy, the protection of human rights and freedoms, the rule of law, and multilateral cooperation.

The document identifies the Russian government's growing authoritarianism, aggressiveness and imperialist ambitions pursued through military and unconventional hybrid means as the greatest threat to Lithuania's national security.

“By increasingly ignoring not only the opinion of the international community, but also violating international law, the government of the Russian Federation poses an existential threat to the security of the Republic of Lithuania and, at the same time, to the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic community,” the document reads.

Other threats identified in the updated strategy include the growing hostility and unpredictability of Belarus' authoritarian regime, and the growth of China's economic and military power and Beijing's ambitions to reshape the international order, which the document describes as “a key axis of geopolitical competition and growing tensions between democratic and authoritarian states”.

“The communist ideology of the People's Republic of China contradicts the values enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and, at the same time, the national interests of the state,” the strategy reads.

Among the threats identified in the document are Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power plant, cyber and information attacks, the growing influence of technology, the rise of religious extremism in Europe, frozen conflicts, climate change, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stepping up military cooperation

The strategy aims to increase the Lithuanian Armed Forces' combat power and readiness, with a focus on developing land warfare capabilities, to maximise the permanent presence of the US, Germany, the UK and other allies in Lithuania and the region, and to step up military cooperation with Poland, Latvia, and Estonia.

It also aims to create an integrated crisis and emergency management system and ensure its interaction with the mobilisation system, and to strengthen the protection of the EU's external border.

Modernising border security is a priority, with a particular focus on deploying advanced technical border surveillance solutions and beefing up physical border protection, the document says.

On the economic front, the strategy calls for working out measures to encourage Lithuanian businesses to seek markets and cooperate with democratic states.

The document seeks to reduce the dependence of Lithuania's “transport sector, especially railways and ports, on one country and to increase diversification”.

In the document, Lithuania also pledges to consistently and actively support NATO's open door policy and the NATO membership aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia, to maintain consistent support for the EU's enlargement process, and to seek greater EU support for the security and resilience of the Eastern Partnership countries.

The current National Security Strategy was adopted back in 2017.

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