Lithuania avoided ‘military crisis’ with Belarus, says presidential adviser

Asta Skaisgirytė, adviser to the Lithuanian president, said the country avoided a crisis when it didn’t respond to a Belarusian military helicopter allegedly crossing into Lithuanian airspace on Sunday.

According to Skaisgirytė, Lithuanian authorities had prepared for potential provocations.

“We made certain assumptions and got prepared for them. […] If we had done [something], then, probably, we would have had a military crisis right now,” she told Žinių Radijas radio.

During the Freedom Way human chain demonstration on Sunday, when some 50,000 people linked hands to show solidarity with protests in the neighbouring county, Lithuania said a Belarusian helicopter entered the country’s airspace near Medininkai.

Lithuania later handed in a diplomatic note to Belarus over the incident. Meanwhile, Belarus claimed it had to use Mi-24 helicopters to stop balloons from entering Belarusian territory, and handed a note of protest to Lithuania in response.

On Tuesday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda will meet with the heads of the country’s armed forces and military intelligence on Tuesday.

According to Skaisgirytė, the incident would be discussed during the meeting.

“The president is meeting with the defence minister and the heads of security services to discuss the whole situation and this specific incident,” she said.

The meeting will be attended by Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys and head of military intelligence, Colonel Elegijus Paulavičius.

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