Police received about 900 false reports about explosives in schools, kindergartens and other places across Lithuania on October 13, but there was “no reason to panic”, said Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė. She stressed that they were false reports, and said she met with law enforcement officials to find a response to such threats in the future.

It was agreed that, by the end of that day, the Police Department would prepare an appropriate response algorithm, both general and specific, which would be adapted to the relevant institutions, such as those in the field of health or social security, according to the minister.

That morning, the police reported that it registered “140 Russian-language reports of threats to blow up schools and kindergartens”, according to Ramūnas Matonis, a spokesperson for the Police Department. The number of hoax threats continued to grow, with some schools being evacuated. Matonis denied the bomb threats were specifically targeting Jewish institutions, although some of the bomb threats included Jewish schools. Recently, the authorities in Estonia and Latvia reported receiving similar bomb threats.

“Similar attacks are taking place in other Baltic countries, with a peak in Latvia a few days ago and in Estonia as well. We have faced such attacks before, last year,” he said. “To my knowledge, Poland has also faced them, Moldova has also faced them, and Ukraine was hit [with fake bomb threats] before the start of the war.”

Most of the threatening messages are written in Russian, Požėla said. Some demand a ransom and others are political in nature. The police were responding and inspecting every school or kindergarten that was threatened.

Lithuania’s intelligence agency, the State Security Department (VSD), said the threats across the Baltic states appeared “to be a targeted and coordinated attack carried out at the initiative of hostile states”. The intelligence agency’s spokesperson, Aurelija Vernickaitė, told reporters that

“The false reports and actions of a similar nature are aimed at creating tension and panic in society, disturbing and destabilising the work of institutions, and increasing mistrust.

As geopolitical tensions rise, Lithuania and the other Baltic states are constant targets of information and cyber-attacks by hostile states,” she added.
Ruth Reches, head of the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium in Vilnius, said classes were held remotely on Friday, and students’ parents were also on duty at the school on Monday.

Matonis said the police may station officers at the school if they see a threat. The police would then send “not one or two cars, but as many as needed”. There was a reinforced police presence at “up to ten sites” in Vilnius alone. Tomas Gulbinas, a member of the Vilnius City Council and former vice-mayor of the capital, confirmed that schools are adequately prepared to deal with the threat.

On  Monday, October 16, reported that on the previous night, Lithuanian police and 1,500 civilians received three identical e-mail messages with a warning that explosives had been planted in educational establishments, municipal buildings, and other public locations across the country. Ramūnas Matonis said that the bomb threats targeted high schools, kindergartens, municipalities, academies, security companies, libraries, media outlets, galleries, private individuals, and others.

The police ask people receiving such letters to remain calm and report it immediately.

Some schools and kindergartens that received threatening letters on Monday were evacuated, while others decided to continue classes outside. The letters said that the bombs would explode at 12:12 on Monday, so the police recommended all schools to evacuate at 12:00 for 20 minutes.

Later, the police said that reports of explosives in Lithuanian establishments have not turned out to be true. “Nothing has exploded. We have received 1,200 reports from people, we are going to all of them. So far, nothing suspicious has been found.”