However, according to the Chief of Defence, certain political conditions should be assessed.
„Of course, there are all kinds of assessments. Without being tied to the assessment of individuals or individual institutions, looking at the basis on which they make that assessment and paint possible scenarios, we take a professional approach and make assessments based on the official intelligence provided.
The intelligence information is provided in various sections (...). Still, if you add it all up, if you take into account the current situation of the Russian army, what it is fighting, what it has on its hands, and what it can do, then at a given moment in time, right now, this year, right next year, the possibility or the probability of the outbreak of a Russia-NATO war is undoubtedly very low, very low, extremely low.
It is practically impossible for them to have the capacity to start, to initiate a war with the NATO bloc,“ V. Rupšys told Žinių Radijas on Thursday.
However, he said, certain conditions must also be considered, which are still subject to change.
„I don't associate it less with some political struggle or elections, which is what politicians value, but I associate it more with possible conflicts in Europe and other parts of the world. This could have a second– and third-order effect and spark a wider war.
In the situation that we are seeing now in the Middle East, specifically in Israel, somehow, that operation does not escalate into a wider war. Still, you know, when wars start, sometimes you cannot predict how things might turn out.
Therefore, those who say that we need to hurry and that we need to be pragmatic and focused, to make the right decisions and to prepare for a future conflict and, above all, deter it through the readiness of our combat power are right“, the Chief of Defence stressed.
When asked how seriously the war scenario is taken in the West, V. Rupšys pointed out that the thinking of Lithuania's allies had changed drastically even before the Russian invasion.
„Certainly, that assessment has already changed, not only on 24 February 2022 – the change happened much earlier.
I would dare to say that they realised the reality already after the occupation of Crimea – NATO, as a defence alliance, already then started to think that future wars need to be prepared differently, in particular, to deter it from happening,“ the Chief of Defence explained.
According to V. Rupšys, the consensus and understanding of the NATO Chiefs of Defence on threat assessment is 100%.
„There is no other understanding. If politically we see some disagreements between some European countries, in the military dimension we see everything from a single sheet of paper, we do not see any contradiction“, V. Rupšys noted.
Last week, Bild published excerpts from a potentially secret document prepared by the German Ministry of Defence. It suggests that an escalation between NATO and Russia could happen as early as February 2024.
Also, according to Bild, 2025, the bloc could confront the Russian army, probably on the Baltic side. Bild stressed that the scenario is part of the legend of the NATO exercises to be held in the Baltics later this year.
The Presidency has not commented on these considerations. According to them, no documents back up the claims, and the threat assessment in the region has stayed the same.