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Russia is allocating enormous resources to the war in Ukraine and shows no inclination to de-escalate the situation, even though it is failing to achieve its operational objectives..

At the same time, Russia is preparing for a long-term confrontation with NATO and has embarked on a major reform of its Armed Forces. Its full implementation will take from at least several years to a decade.

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Russia has financial, human, material, and technical resources to continue the war at a similar intensity in at least the near term.

The Russian economy is holding up better than expected thanks to high oil prices, state investment in the military industry, and the ability to circumvent sanctions. Military industry is becoming a driving force of Russia’s economy at the expense of other sectors.

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The Kremlin attempts to portray itself as having universal support for its rule and policies.

However, the Wagner munity revealed that the regime was slow to react to the developing situation and that Russian society remained indifferent to the power struggle. The Russian presidential election remains a significant event to the Kremlin and serves as a tool to demonstrate the legitimacy of Putin’s power and the public approval of the regime’s policies. With a new mandate, the Kremlin is more likely to take unpopular decisions in the post-election period.

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Russia’s foreign policy has been increasingly affected by its aggression towards Ukraine.

In its relations with the West, Russia’s main objective is to undermine Western support for Ukraine by resorting to blackmail and threats. International isolation forces Russia to develop relations with the Global South, not only to secure alternative trade and logistics routes but also to form an anti-Western coalition with Russia as its leader.

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The Belarusian regime’s threat perception is the driving force behind the intense activity of intelligence services against Lithuania..

Belarusian intelligence uses questionings of people who travel from Lithuania to Belarus and a growing Belarusian diaspora in Lithuania for its activities against Lithuania.

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Belarus’ military potential is boosted by a significant increase in Russian arms support to Minsk.

The Kremlin is allowing Lukashenka to display a semblance of sovereignty and parity in decision-making. However, Russia seeks to maintain and increase its control over Minsk by building up a non-strategic nuclear weapons capability in Belarus and by establishing conditions for a sustained military presence through legal means.

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China intensifies intelligence activities against Lithuania from its territory.

Its intelligence services increasingly use social networks to establish and maintain contact with potential targets as well as cyber espionage against Lithuania. Chinese intelligence priorities are Lithuania’s internal affairs, political divisions, and foreign policy. In the short term, Chinese intelligence services likely will seek to collect information on Lithuanian national elections, both presidential and parliamentary as well as the European Parliament election.

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The intensity of information attacks against Lithuania and neighbouring countrie has increased significantly.

These aggressive information operations are aimed at spreading fear among society members and disrupting work of state institutions. Russia’s information policy is likely to intensify further, with new information attacks focused on elections, regional conflicts and support for Ukraine.

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The threat of Islamist terrorism in Europe is growing.

The Islamist propaganda disseminated by international terrorist organisations contributes to the increased probability of terrorist attacks. The main risk comes from lone radicalised individuals motivated not only by traditional Islamist propaganda narratives but also the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East.

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AFP / Scanpix
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