A surge of Lithuanians sign up for border militia and taken arms against fears the Russians will invade the Baltics next because they don’t trust Russia.
The scars of Soviet occupation run deep in this part of Europe. Tens of thousands of Lithuanians were forcibly deported to gulags in Siberia and the far north by the Soviets in the 1940s and 1950s.
It is reported that around 30,000 Lithuanian prisoners perished in the forced labour camps.
Lithuanians sign up for border militia
So, when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Grudzinskas joined Lithuania’s century-old volunteer militia — the Riflemen — and took up arms in his own backyard. This recruitment surged when Russia invaded Ukraine.
That means these riflemen and women are the first lines of defence if the Kremlin’s troops, who are just stationed less than 100 feet away, put one foot on Lithuanian soil, these troops will blitz them.
NATO steps up in the Baltics
NATO steps up in the Baltics in order to better protect the Baltics, NATO has radically overhauled its defence planning in this part of the world.
Announcing ahead of a summit in Madrid this week that it would increase its presence in the region enough to repel any attack in real time, rather than sending in troops to recapture territory once it’s been seized.
That will mean thousands more troops, which Lithuania would like to see based permanently around the small country’s 621-mile-long borders with Belarus and Russia.
Most of the Baltic states are wary of the Russians and the pride and recognition and national identity has become more prominent. It is no surprise that Lithuanians sign up for border militia, to defend their land by any means necessary.
When did Lithuania become independent?
Lithuania became independent from the Soviet Union in 1990. But it has since lived under fear of the threat of Russian invasion. It has since joined the European Union and NATO.
Lithuania took the decision to block the transportation of goods like food supplies and steel — which are subject to EU sanctions — from being transported by train into Kaliningrad.
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