Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Lithuanian president describes Belarusian-Russian wargame as demonstration of preparations for war against West

By Iryna Lewshyna, BelaPAN

Lithuanian president describes Belarusian-Russian wargame as demonstration of preparations for war against West
A large-scale Belarusian-Russian military exercise that is scheduled to take place later this year demonstrates the countries' preparations for a war against the West, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters during her visit to Latvia on Thursday.

"We can see that there are different threats, that they are rising," the Delfi news agency quoted her as saying. "We are waiting with concern for the West 2017 exercise, during which large and aggressive forces will be concentrated."

The military threat from Russia and Belarus prompts Baltic states to ask for additional security guarantees from foreign partners, including NATO, according to the Lithuanian president.

Ms. Grybauskaite expressed hope that she would discuss the matter with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence next week. The president said that she hoped for "very close" contacts with U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

Vytautas Bakas, head of the national security and defense committee in Lithuania's parliament, said on Thursday that the Belarusian-Russian exercise was expected to become the largest ever wargame near the Lithuanian borders. Darius Jaunuskis, director of Lithuania's State Security Department, for his part, described the coming exercise as the biggest challenge to Lithuania's national security this year.