- Title: Bracing for Russian military exercise, Lithuania puts up a border fence
- Date: 5th June 2017
- Summary: RAMONISKIAI BORDER CROSSING POINT, LITHUANIA (JUNE 5, 2017) (REUTERS) NEMUNAS RIVER RUSSIAN BORDER FENCE RUSSIAN COAT OF ARMS ON BORDER POST RUSSIAN BORDER FENCE RUSSIAN BORDER POST RUSSIAN AND LITHUANIAN BORDER POSTS WORKERS DRILLING HOLE IN THE GROUND CLOSE UP OF DRILL LITHUANIAN MINISTER OF INTERIOR AFFAIRS EIMUTIS MISIUNAS ARRIVING TO BORDER CROSSING POINT HOLE IN THE GROUND LITHUANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER EIMUTIS MISIUNAS AND CHIEF OF LITHUANIAN BORDER UNIT RENATAS POZELA PLACING FENCE POST MISIUNAS CEMENTING HOLE CAMERAMEN MISIUNAS AND POZELA PLACING ANOTHER FENCE POST HOLE BEING CEMENTED MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Lithuanian) LITHUANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER, EIMUTIS MISIUNAS, SAYING: "We know some cases, like what happened in Estonia in 2014 when Estonian officials accused Russian officials of having kidnapped an officer in their territory. So, in order to avoid such situations, we decided to build the fence." CAMERA FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (Lithuanian) LITHUANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER, EIMUTIS MISIUNAS, SAYING: "The border will be about 45 kilometres long, it will go on land stretches only as there is water stretches where you cannot build a fence. The fence will be 2 metres high, with special obstacles which will make it difficult to climb." LITHUANIAN BORDER POST (SOUNDBITE) (Lithuanian) LITHUANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER, EIMUTIS MISIUNAS, SAYING: "We understand that in order to have a properly operating Schengen area, we need to have well protected external European Union borders, so this was also included in our Government priorities and in the parliament it was decided that it is needed to strengthen security on the Lithuanian border with Russia. So the parliament included a special grant of 3,6 million euros for building the fence, especially to strengthen the border with Russia." NEW FENCE NEXT TO LITHUANIAN BORDER POST VARIOUS OF WORKERS PLACING NEW POSTS VARIOUS OF POSTS IN LINE FOR NEW FENCE
- Embargoed: 19th June 2017 17:12
- Keywords: Russia fence NATO Lithuania
- Location: RAMONISKIAI BORDER CROSSING POINT, LITHUANIA
- City: RAMONISKIAI BORDER CROSSING POINT, LITHUANIA
- Country: Lithuania
- Topics: NATO,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016K02URD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Lithuania has began constructing a two-metre high wire fence along its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad ahead of military exercises Moscow is planning to hold there in September.
While the 45-km-long (30 mile) fence will provide little defence against a full-scale attack, it aims to prevent provocations and incidents, Lithuanian Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas said on Monday (June 5).
"In order to avoid such situations, we decided we need the fence", Misiunas said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
For Lithuania and other Baltic republics, which won their independence from Moscow in 1991 but remain home to ethnic Russian minorities, any massing of Russian troops near their borders spreads concern, especially since the 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula by Moscow.
Although Russia has not disclosed the size of the Zapad (West) exercises that it holds every four years on its western borders, analysts have said that this year's drill may be the largest in quarter of a century, with a movement of about 100,000 Russian troops expected.
The recent deployment of 1,000 NATO troops to Poland and each of the Baltic states has unnerved Moscow, which had warned in January that it was a bad idea.
The United States will have doubled its troops in the region for the duration of the military exercises, an official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In July, the U.S. Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) missile battery will be deployed in Lithuania for two weeks in July, for the first time in the region where Russia has air superiority.
The fence, which is to cost 3.6 million euros, is to define clearly the geographical border between Kaliningrad and Lithuania. Surveillance equipment installed alongside will give an early warning of any violation, the minister said.
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