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Lithuanian capital buying ‘dragon’s teeth’ and ‘hedgehogs’

Vilnius is reportedly developing fortification and evacuation plans

Authorities in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, have developed a plan to ring the entire city with anti-tank obstacles before the end of the year, Mayor Valdas Benkunskas announced on Tuesday.

The former Soviet republic on the Baltic Sea borders fellow NATO member Latvia to the north and Poland to the south, but also shares a border with Russia’s Kaliningrad Region and Belarus. 

“Vilnius, as the capital of the country, is one of the main military targets, so it is necessary to do everything possible, in addition to military measures, to protect it,” Benkunskas told reporters.

The city has already made arrangements to buy two types of anti-tank obstacles, the mayor added, including concrete triangles dubbed ‘dragon’s teeth’ and the steel-beam ‘hedgehogs’.

“We will have these means of military counter-mobility at our disposal already in the fall,” Benkunskas said. He explained that they would be installed on the approaches to Vilnius by municipal workers, in case of emergency. The idea is to have enough barriers for the entire perimeter of the city.

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Vilnius is also seeking to increase the number of air-raid sirens, expand the network of bomb shelters, and draft plans for evacuating the city completely within 36 hours, according to Benkunskas.

The mayor did not name the possible attacker. Vilnius is located in southeastern Lithuania, about 185km east of Kaliningrad Region and 30km from the border with Belarus.

Last month, the Polish capital of Warsaw ran a snap exercise to test the reliability of emergency shelters and other critical infrastructure. Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski said the drills were needed “just in case.”

Earlier this year, Estonia announced it would build bunkers and “anti-mobility defensive installations” along its 294-kilometer border with Russia. Construction on the “Baltic Line” is supposed to start in 2025.

Several NATO countries have claimed that Russia might attack the US-led military bloc once Ukraine is defeated, seeking to justify both members’ domestic military spending and their ongoing aid to Kiev. Russia has repeatedly dismissed their concerns as propaganda, pointing to the fact that NATO has been the one expanding eastward for decades.

Claims of a looming Russian invasion are “utter nonsense and intimidation of their own population just to beat the money out of them,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March.

July 03, 2024 at 12:40AM

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