Pending the aggressor: how Lithuanians reacted to the Russia's actions
Lithuanian Riflemen Union, with its 100-year history, has become extremely popular among the people just after the first Russia's aggressive actions
Read the original text on Evropeiska Pravda.
Russian aggression against Ukraine has changed the security policy of many European countries.
Lithuania is not an exception. This was reflected in an increase of the defense budget, and return of mobilization. The first mobilization - a period of 9 months - was announced in 2015 and soon will be replaced by a new one. In this case, talking about the forced recruitment is not necessary - the first set consisted by 90% of volunteers. Most likely, this situation will continue this year. Lithuanian Defense Ministry told that during two months they have already received so many applications for military service, which "covers" 70% of the annual appeal.
Further evidence that Lithuanians has changed attitudes has been a dramatic growth in popularity of the idea of supporting the army out of service.
Lithuanian Riflemen Union is engaged in it - an organization which soon will celebrate its 100th anniversary. It was founded in 1919 and has played an important role in protecting the independence of the young Lithuanian state.
The organization operates on the principle of the Swiss army - its members have uniforms with their own marks of distinction, while training they use personal weapon (most similar to that which is in service with the Army) and the weapon given by the Union Ministry of Defense. Just as the Lithuanian army, it includes many women shooters.
Ministry of Defense has recognized that a couple of years ago, the Union was more like shooters veteran club and had not attracted young people.
It changed in 2014, after the action of Russia. Changes have occurred not only quantitative - membership societies increased from 6 to 9 thousand, but qualitative as well.
Now members become some known presenters, politicians and diplomats. All this attracts new volunteers.
Defense Ministry of Lithuania organizes a trip for Ukrainian journalists to see the training shooters. This is a small shooting range in Vilnius - such trainings are held weekly, and long learning, from 500 and above, - once or twice a year. They have raised funds for the purchase of vehicles for blood collection in Sloviansk (Donetsk region), and now they are collecting money for Severodonetsk.
If case of general mobilization of the great amount of shooters will deal with the protection of infrastructure projects, part of them to join some common military units, and the most prepared to join the units of special purpose.
The key question is how appropriate this experience is for Ukraine?
"I have repeatedly visited Ukraine, including in the area of ATO and I’m sure that you need such an organization. It's not our feature - such unions are in other countries in the Nordic and Baltic countries, and everywhere they have proven success," says one of the activists, Haroldos Daublis.
"Well I understand the fear of the Ukrainian leadership - especially after Mukachevo. However, it is possible to resolve the issue, holding weapons in warehouses guarded and giving it only for the exercises. With the number of weapons remaining from the Soviet Union, it is foolish not to use the possibility," he adds.
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