BELGRADE – Lithuania has printed out a 75-page guide to be issued to its citizens in preparation for a potential incursion from the east. The pamphlet promises to turn an ordinary resident into a novice guerilla fighter.
“It is important that civilians have the will the resist, this will make it more difficult for the aggressor country to feel comfortable,” states the manual.
Some 30,000 copies of the survival booklet have been printed, which specifically details a potential invasion from Russia – starting from infiltration of the media, and agitation of the sympathetic populace, onto hybrid warfare, and finally, a full-scale invasion.
The manual really comes into its own at that point, teaching the reader to identify their T-90 tanks from BMD-4 amphibious infantry carriers and listing dozens of different guns, mines and shells in use within the Russian army.
Presuming that Lithuania’s conventional force has been overwhelmed, the manual tells ordinary citizens how to become guerilla fighters. Instructions range from the fairly basic – how to dress like a guerilla in cold weather, balaclava included – to the more advanced, telling how to use the sun to tell time, and what household materials are needed for a homemade battery.
After a list of medical instructions, there is a printout of items a Lithuanian may need if hiding in the forest, including energy bars, wet wipes and condoms.
While the guide can be amusing in its earnestness to prepare for a war that remains unlikely, the cumulative effect of reading through it is increasingly depressing, as the authors detail the what first aid has to be given to someone with a pelvic injury, or how to avoid dying of dehydration after the sleepy Baltic state takes a decidedly apocalyptic turn.
This is the third such brochure published in the country since the outbreak of fighting in eastern Ukraine in 2014, and Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said that guide was published not only for the benefit of the country’s 3 million citizens, but “to show that anyone who decides to cross into our borders will encounter resistance.”
The Soviet Union’s incorporation of the Baltics into its territory in 1940 has been dubbed by Lithuanian leadership an “illegal annexation” following the collapse of the USSR.
Lithuania and its neighbors Latvia and Estonia joined NATO in March 2004, and have been loud in calling for additional protection from the alliance. The bulk of NATO’s new 5,000-strong Eastern European force will be based in the Baltics. A force of 600 infantrymen and a battalion of modern Leopard 2 tanks have been dispatched to Russia’s borders just this week.
A recent report from the US-based Rand Corporation said that should a conflict actually erupt, it would still take Russia no more than 60 hours to overwhelm the three Baltic states.