Latvian Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said the West needs to realize Russia will not stop its war in Ukraine and take decisive steps to ensure Kyiv’s victory over the occupiers, as per The Guardian.
“The Ukrainians are willing to put up the fight. The Ukrainians need our Western, undivided support – European Union support.
So we have to come finally to the decision to make sure that we have the funding for Ukraine for the coming years, so they can continue to sustain their government,” Kariņš stated.
The Latvian foreign minister stressed that the West should be persistent in providing Ukraine with the weapons and the ammunition that it needs to liberate its territories from Russian troops.
“For anyone who thinks that it’s expensive to support Ukraine and that this money is better spent elsewhere, I can only say it will only get more expensive in the future. If we do not help Ukraine stop Russia now, it will be only all the more expensive for us later because Russia will not stop,” Kariņš added.
Earlier, President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs said his country prepares its armed forces for various provocations from Russia and hybrid warfare.
Latvia, as a member of NATO and the European Union, has security guarantees. At the same time, it also takes measures to enhance the country’s defense capabilities, the president emphasized in Davos, UkrInform has reported.
“On the one hand, we are members of NATO and the EU, and these are the best security guarantees. However, it is also necessary to implement tangible measures. Latvia’s defense industry should enhance its capabilities for two reasons – to support Ukraine and to acquire more equipment and technology, as the purchasing process takes longer than production.
We must introduce conscription, and we plan to do it in the long term. And, of course, Latvia will increase its defense spending – up to 3% of GDP by 2027,” said Rinkēvičs.
The Latvian president also stressed that the West needs to implement strategies in countering Russia’s military tactics to prepare for challenges linked with Russia’s expansion ambitions.
“Unfortunately, we always find ourselves a step or two behind Putin – he figures out how to attack us, and we find ways to counter. But we must act proactively. I discuss this with my NATO colleagues, and sometimes, I have to convince them that we will face even more unpleasant things than we have already seen,” Rinkēvičs noted.
In January 2023, Latvia initiated the deportation process for 985 Russian citizens who failed to meet the country’s immigration requirements, according to Postimees.
It is noted that to reside in Latvia, Russian citizens are required to pass a language proficiency test or submit an application for another type of residence permit. Individuals who did not meet these criteria received a letter requesting them to leave the country within two weeks or to formalize their legal residence.