(BNS, 8/13/05) The Russian Navy’s Baltic fleet is starting large-scale exercises, but Russian military authorities, as usual, did not inform their Lithuanian neighbour’s military institutions. The Russian news agency, Interfax, announced that, in the coming days, the fleet will start its annual exercise’s active maritime phase, which will involve more than 30 cargo and service ships and the navy’s air force.

The programme will include artillery and anti-aircraft exercises, mine placing, and submarine surveillance.

The exercises, which will be led by the Russian Baltic Fleet’s Admiral Vladimir Valujev, will be concluded by landing marines on a beach in the Kaliningrad region, located inside the Chmeliovka base.

As it did in the past, Russia did not inform the Lithuanian institutions about the exercises that are held in the Kaliningrad region every year.

“What goes on inside the economic and territorial waters of a state is that state’s business. It is sad, however, that good neighbour principles of informing neighbours about military exercises have not yet been established,” Kestutis Macijauskas, an admiral from the Lithuanian Navy told BNS on Friday.

He said that the Russian Navy did not invite observers from Lithuania.

The Lithuanian admiral did not say if Lithuania’s technical capabilities would allow Lithuania to observe the Russian naval exercises.

“The Defence Department did not receive any information from Russia about the military exercises, being held across the Lithuanian border,” the Defence Ministry’s Secretary Renatas Norkus told BNS.

He said that the exercises are not large enough to obligate Russia to inform the international community in accordance with the so called Vienna Document.