Worried over Russia, Lithuania issues war survival guide, sends it to schools

A general view of Lithuanian capital Vilnius on Dec 17, 2014. Lithuania's defence ministry on Wednesday began distributing wartime survival manuals to schools around the country reflecting anxiety in the Baltic state over events in Ukraine. -- P
A general view of Lithuanian capital Vilnius on Dec 17, 2014. Lithuania's defence ministry on Wednesday began distributing wartime survival manuals to schools around the country reflecting anxiety in the Baltic state over events in Ukraine. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

VILNIUS (AFP) - Lithuania's defence ministry on Wednesday began distributing wartime survival manuals to schools around the country reflecting anxiety in the Baltic state over events in Ukraine.

The 98-page guide offers practical advice for emergency and wartime situations from setting up basement shelters to handling hostage dramas to evacuating from war zones.

"If you're a civilian and you make that clear, it is unlikely someone will rush to kill you," says the manual, also available on the ministry website.

"If you fail to evacuate, you will have to acquire a gun. It will help protect you from bandits," it adds, without specifying how to procure a weapon.

The guide makes no specific mention of Russia, but Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said it was put together in response to concerns over Moscow's support of separatists in Ukraine.

"Since Russia's aggression in Ukraine, people have started wondering what they're supposed to do if similar things happen in Lithuania," Mr Olekas told AFP.

The guide also urges Lithuanians to hold strikes or at the very least do a shoddier, slower job at work in the event that the country comes under occupation.

Officials have delivered 2,000 copies to secondary schools around the nation of three million people and are now preparing a second edition for universities and public libraries.

Russia's takeover of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and its support for separatists in the east of the country have alarmed Lithuania and its fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia.

The Soviet Union occupied the countries for half a century until they broke free in 1991, before joining the European Union and Nato in 2004.

The Western military alliance has sought to reassure the trio and deter Russia by bolstering its presence in the region.

Mr Olekas said Lithuania was also engaged in talks with the United States to store American military hardware, including tanks.

Lithuania has urged the EU to increase sanctions on Russia after deadly weekend rocket attacks on the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, and to label self-proclaimed separatist "republics" as terrorist organisations.