Lithuania raises army’s readiness level amid Russia’s military mobilisation

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VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lithuania raised the readiness level of its army’s rapid response force “to prevent any provocations from the Russian side”, defence minister Arvydas Anusauskas said after Moscow announced a partial military mobilisation.

“Since Russia’s military mobilisation will also be carried out in the Kaliningrad region, in our neighborhood, Lithuania cannot just watch,” he wrote on Facebook.

European Union members Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which border Russia, will not offer refuge to any Russians fleeing Moscow’s mobilisation of troops, their ministers said on Wednesday.

One-way flights out of Russia were rocketing in price and selling out fast as President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists.

“A refusal to fulfil one’s civic duty in Russia or a desire to do so does not constitute sufficient grounds for being granted asylum in another country”, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in email to Reuters.

On Twitter, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics cited security concerns for the refusal. The Lithuanian Interior Ministry said each asylum case would be weighted separately.

The three countries, and Poland, began turning away Russian citizens from their borders at midnight on Monday, saying they should not travel while their country is at war with Ukraine.

The ban excludes Russian dissidents seeking refuge in the EU along with lorry drivers, refugees and permanent residents of EU countries as well as those visiting close family members.

Lightning Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment and the Algirdas Battalion, Iron Wolf Brigade, of the Armed Forces of Lithuanian conducted training operations in Rukla, Lithuania. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Jaccob Hearn)

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