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HomeLithuaniaRussia preparing for long-term confrontation with NATO, including Baltics – intelligence

Russia preparing for long-term confrontation with NATO, including Baltics – intelligence

Russia is not only allocating massive resources for the war in Ukraine but is also preparing for a long-term confrontation with NATO, according to Lithuanian intelligence.

“Russia is allocating enormous resources to the war in Ukraine and shows no inclination to de-escalate the situation, even though it is failing to achieve its operational objectives. At the same time, Russia is preparing for a long-term confrontation with NATO,” the State Security Department and the Second Investigation Department under the Defense Ministry said in their annual national security threat assessment report published on Thursday.

The agencies say that the Kremlin has embarked on a major reform of its Armed Forces that will expand Russia’s military potential in the Baltic Sea region. Changes in structure and subordination have already started, including in the Kaliningrad region and Western Russia.

“Restructuring is a long-term project that will require effort and resources from several years to a decade,” they said, adding that the overall speed and scope of the reform will depend directly on the progress, duration and outcome of the war in Ukraine.

The agencies also note that Russia has sufficient financial, human, material and technical resources to continue the war “at a similar intensity in at least the near term”. In the intelligence assessment, this means a period of up to two years.

The report says that the war has cost Russia more than expected. Military spending in the first half of 2023 exceeded the amount officially budgeted for the whole year. This year, military allocations will make up at least a third of Russia’s state budget – more than 10 trillion rubles, or 102 billion euros.

“The actual amount is certainly much higher, as it is supplemented by classified budget allocations. The war and the military industry are now driving the Russian economy, accumulating financial, material, and human resources at the expense of the other sectors of the economy,” it says.

According to the document, Russia is dividing its Western Military District into the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts, which were merged in 2010, forming a new army corps is Karelia, and upgrading some brigades to divisions.

The agencies also note that Belarus is developing a capability to deploy nuclear weapons that will be controlled by Russian.

Work is underway in Belarus to upgrade and equip the infrastructure for the storage of nuclear weapons, according to the report.

“The Belarusian Armed Forces have two potential nuclear delivery means – Su-25 attack aircraft based at the Lida airbase near the Lithuanian border and mobile Iskander-M missile systems at Asipovichy. Belarusian military personnel are being trained to operate with non-strategic nuclear weapons (NSNW),” the agencies said.

“The deployment of NSNW in Belarus will only deepen the ties between the two countries and encourage Moscow to maintain control over Minsk at all costs,” they said.

According to the report, Belarus last year acquired a significant amount of modern combat equipment from Russia: the Iskander operational-tactical missile complex, a battalion set of BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, and Mi-35M attack helicopters.

Lithuania’s intelligence agencies publish their national security threat assessment reports every year. The latest document looks into key threats and risk factors to Lithuania’s national security in 2024-2025.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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