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Ministro J.Oleko kalba pasakyta tarptautinėje konferencijoje „Valstybės ir piliečių sąveika, užtikrinant šalies teritorinę gynybą

2016.11.22

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is my pleasure to welcome you all at this conference. We live in a new security environment with challenges emerging every day. Once again, we face existential threats as independent nations. It means that we should focus on the basic task of our armed forces – territorial defence.

 

At the same time we should admit that the notion of territorial defence is changing. As a Russian aggression in Ukraine demonstrates a wide range of tools from the conventional military means, to the use of information, cyber and other unconventional tools could be employed against us. In similar regard, the response to these threats must include not only traditional military measures, but also information and cyber operations as well as other capabilities.

 

One of the lessons that we all learnt is that the united efforts among state institutions and civil society is necessary for the defence to be effective. This applies both in traditional military domain but also in non military dimensions, like cyber and information warfare. The lack of coordinated efforts cost lives and creates a window of opportunity for adversary.

 

Defence of the country against the armed attack is both the constitutional right and duty of each citizen of Lithuania. It means that successful territorial defence requires close and coordinated efforts between the civil society and state institutions. In my view state institutions has to play a leading role in organising the defence as well as ensuring the conditions for the citizens to implement their duty and right to defend the country. At the same time it has to be open to the initiatives coming from the civil society. We try to follow this concept.

 

First, it is so important to strengthen the ties and understanding between military and civilians. We are leading a campaign of raising awareness of our society about the information warfare. Also, we published a number of publications to inform our citizens about the suitable actions during the conflicts or emergency situations and about civil resistance.

 

Second, Ministry of Defence significantly increased support to Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union. It is the only voluntary paramilitary organization in Lithuania and one of our main partners. They organized this conference and are very successful in rallying patriotic citizens of Lithuania and involving them in civil defence activities. The Union brings under its umbrella a wide spectrum of all age groups – children, youths and adults. This organization is a foundation of a civil defence system in our country and the MoD continually strengthens the cooperation with the Union. We are glad that the membership of the Union is steadily growing showing us that the society sees civic and patriotic activities as relevant and important. It’s an honour for me be a member of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union.

 

Third, the willingness of the people to be involved in the state defence also is shown by the increasing participation in the National Defence Volunteer Forces. The Volunteer Forces give an opportunity for every man and woman in Lithuania to become a part of our defence system without becoming professional servicemen or servicewomen. Our Volunteer Forces are an essential part of the territorial defence. Since the Russian aggression in Ukraine the importance of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union and the National Defence Volunteer Forces and society’s interest and involvement in their activities have grown significantly. This gives a perfect opportunity to the state to work with these institutions on reaching the people and making them a part of the state defence system.

 

In addition to other forms of military service, the restored conscription allows a larger part of society to get a military know how. And so far all the conscripts were volunteers. It shows willingness among the people to learn how to defend our country and in case of need to do it.

 

I also would like to emphasise that in this area a sharing of the good practice with our neighbouring countries is also very important. We hope that the information about Lithuania’s practice in this field will be useful for all the participants. I also want to thank our guests from Ukraine, Estonia, Poland and members of NATO Force Integration Unit staff for participating in this conference and agreeing to share your experience and insights. Ukraine especially could offer the experience based practical recommendations on how to make state institutions and citizens work together in conflict situations.

 

In the end I want to say that I am very glad that the conference on such an important topic was organized. All your contributions are much appreciated. Thank you for your attention! And I wish you a good discussion!

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