Lithuania will fortify its borders with Belarus and Russia’s western enclave, Kaliningrad. The Baltic nation will construct new barriers and protective positions “in case of a military aggression,” warned Laurynas Kasčiūnas, the Minister for National Defence.

The Armed Forces’ Logistics Command signed procurement contracts that collectively cost €4m ($4.29m). The government ordered various counter-mobility devices with creative names that continue to confound after centuries of use in the history of warfare – dragon’s teeth, cheval de frise and Czech hedgehogs.

The government will furnish 27 areas of concern with these bulwarks. These so-called fortification ‘parks’ are planned to be supplied with the equipment and installations necessary for their full capacity by 2025.

GlobalData Defence Analyst, Tristan Sauer, assessed the tactical use of defensive structures in Ukraine, a hotbed for modern warfare:

“Both Russian and Ukrainian forces have employed such equipment to good effect by combining them with other capabilities such as minefields and electronic warfare systems. This creates complex and layered defensive positions which hamper the opponent’s capacity to conduct combined arms manoeuvres,” said Sauer.

“Such equipment and tactics have allowed both sides to channel engagements within more open and rural terrain, creating a buffer zone between the front lines and urbanised population centres that has arguably helped to reduce the proportion of civilian casualties throughout this conflict.”

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Furthermore, the Lithuanian counter-mobility action plan includes reconstructing irrigation ditches in the areas bordering Belarus, development of woodland patches and alleys, refurbishment of roads and bridges, and whatever else is necessary. All the listed steps align in Lithuania’s defence line concept which is an integral part of the Baltic defence line.

Baltic Defence Line

The Baltic Defence Line is a joint initiative between the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – launched in January to reinforce counter-mobility capability along the eastern boarder of Nato while falling in an effective overall line of counter-mobility measures capable of disrupting and preventing hostile forces from crossing the border effectively.

Two soldiers protected by a bulwark with Czech hedgehogs littered around in a Baltic country. Credit: Centre for European Policy Analysis.

Although the Baltic region is in closer proximity to Russia, meaning its threat perception is more profound, other European countries are also taking steps to strengthen their borders in the face of any further Russian military expansion.

Finland has proposed legislation that will allow reservists placed in border troop units to be ordered to training faster than the currently set three months. The new grounds for reservist training would be intended for situations where border security has been seriously compromised.

Such situations could include rapidly developing disturbances in border security due to hybrid threats in the form of large-scale instrumentalised migration or a situation requiring intensified border control because of a major accident or pandemic.