Leader of Belarus Aleksander Lukashenko is implementing a classical hybrid war on Lithuania, and is trying to escalate the situation even further, diplomat and former Minister of Defense Jüri Luik (Isamaa), said in an interview given to the ETV's current news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Tuesday.
Luik noted that there is a serious security crisis in Lithuania, which in essence is a hybrid war that Lukashenko has started against Lithuania, and more broadly against all three Baltic states and the EU as a whole.
"This example of hybrid warfare, which Lukashenko is implementing currently, is a classical hybrid type where all possible measures, starting from mass immigration and propaganda, are used," Luik said.
"All the various measures are being used, while at the same time, Lukashenko is trying to interpret it as an immigration crisis, not a hybrid war and is trying to provoke the international public and nations from the Middle East even more. He has said himself that these videos, which he has sent about the Lithuanian border guards will be sent back to Iraq and elsewhere and this should agitate these nations even more and as Lukashenko said, they might send their armed units to protect their people," Luik said.
In Luik's estimation, this demonstrates that Lukashenko wants to further escalate the situation. "Obviously, it's a situation that Lukashenko is planning to escalate. He himself has nothing to lose, he has put all into play to harm the EU so that the union turns into a force that doesn't protect its values, but which doesn't protect the Belarusians. So in that sense, Lukashenko has started this kind of a hybrid campaign," Luik said.
Luik said that the EU needs to show support to Lithuania and has done it. "In my opinion, the EU has reacted well in the sense that it has stood behind Lithuania accepting that it's a hybrid conflict. This is essentially very important. And the EU through its representatives who have been at that border, has promised significant help for Lithuania, and this help will definitely come," Luik said.
Luik said that whether NATO should intervene has to be decided by Lithuania itself.
"Lithuania is a member of NATO. If Lithuania thinks that NATO would have a role in this conflict, then they should talk about it. Currently, Lithuania is operating with mainly police forces and through the EU. But we don't know where is the conflict heading because as we know, the Russian military exercise Zapad is starting, and is also taking place on Belarusian territory. This adds a certain risk element."
Jüri Luik is now Estonia's ambassador to NATO.
Editor: Roberta Vaino