VILNIUS, March 9 (Reuters) – The chief of Lithuania’s military intelligence said Russia has enough resources to continue the war in Ukraine for two more years at the current intensity.
Moscow says it launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine a year ago to combat a security threat. Kyiv and the West call it an unprovoked war to subdue an independent state.
“The resources which Russia has at the moment would be enough to continue the war at the present intensity for two years”, Lithuania’s intelligence chief Elegijus Paulavicius told reporters.
“How long Russia is be able to wage the war will also depend on the support for Russia’s military from states such as Iran and North Korea”, he added.
Paulavicius was introducing a national threat overview by Lithuania’s intelligence agencies, which also claimed hackers linked to the Russian and Chinese governments repeatedly attempted to break into Lithuanian government computers in 2022.
“Their priority remains continuous long-term collection of information related to Lithuanian internal and foreign affairs,” the agencies said.
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It did not say whether the hacking attempts were successful.
Lithuania has been one of the harshest critics of Russia in the European Union, and faced the ire of China after it allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in 2021.
Chinese envoy’s office in Vilnius did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Russia has repeatedly denied accusations in hacking activities abroad.
Lithuania’s intelligence services said sanctions had not harmed Russia’s ability to fund its military as it redirects resources to them from public welfare.
Russia uses “long chains of intermediaries” to procure sanctioned Western technologies, and its army is being adapted for long-term confrontation with the West and will prioritize efforts to rebuild its military presence in the Baltic Sea region, where it will remain “a threat and a source of instability”.
“This will depend greatly on the duration and the outcome of the war in Ukraine – the longer and the costlier the war, the more time it will take,” the report said.
Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Jon Boyle and Hugh Lawson
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