Adhering to principles of transparency and openness, Lithuania invited international observers from four neighbouring countries to attend the largest national exercise in Lithuania’s history, Thunder Storm2018, that began today. The invitation was sent to representatives of Belarus, Finland, Sweden, and Russia in late April via the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Representatives of Russia formally confirmed they will not arrive to observe the exercise, the reason is not clarified.
Representatives of Belarus, Finland, and Sweden will be visiting Lithuania on June 4-6. On June 5 they will visit General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė, and on June 6 they will observe the portion of the exercise in Alytus district and Gaižiūnai Training Area in Rukla.
Exercise Thunder Storm 2018:
The largest national exercise Thunder Storm in Lithuania will be running on June 1-15. It involves up to 9 thousand Lithuanian soldiers and officer and civilian personnel from other Lithuanian institutions. Thunder Storm is a strategic/operational level state defence exercise. It will train the Lithuanian Armed Forces to conduct wide spectrum armed state defence operations both on their own and together with NATO allies. The exercise scenario includes all phases of a feasible conflict: from a local incident with elements of hybrid warfare and peacetime tasks, and subsequent deployment of rapid response forces, to independent and collective national defence.