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Russia’s imperial pretensions will continue to menace Europe after Putin gone, Latvian FM says

Latvian foreign minister states Russia’s imperialist mentality, evident in Ukraine, will outlast Putin necessitating continued NATO deterrence against its ambitions.
Latvian foreign minister Krišjānis Kariņš at the Latvian Embassy in London. Photo: Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph
Russia’s imperial pretensions will continue to menace Europe after Putin gone, Latvian FM says

In his interview with The Telegraph, Latvian Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš warned about Russia’s imperial ambitions, stating that “Russia right now…they are still an imperialistic country, viewing the world the way some European countries did maybe 100, 150 years ago.” 

Kariņš, whose parents fled Soviet reoccupation of Latvia in 1944, has an acute awareness of the pathologies of the modern Russian psyche. He cautioned,

“From NATO’s point of view, we will have to deal with a problematic Russia, a dangerous Russia for a long time to come. Even after the end of this war – and all wars end eventually – we will still have a problem in Russia which will not be related directly to the rule of Putin.”

The minister cited the recent death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and Russia’s “sham” presidential election as indicators that “there’s any movement within Russia which would produce a leader espousing enlightenment, liberal ideas” is “not in the foreseeable future at all.” He stressed the need for a “robust” and “transparent” NATO containment policy.

“If Moscow clearly see what we have, what we’re capable of, and how we’re willing to put it to use,” Kariņš said, “Russia’s imperialistic ambitions would simply no longer have the opportunity to turn to the West.”

He affirmed NATO’s commitment to defending “from the first square centimeter” of its territory if Russia attacked a Baltic nation.

Despite being in a “very tough portion” of the Ukraine war currently, Kariņš praised Ukraine’s “top-notch fighting spirit” and innovation with drones, while reiterating “Ukraine needs weapons, Ukraine needs ammunition” due to its limited arms manufacturing capacity. He rejected any calls for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia, stating “Russia has proven that it uses peace to rearm in order to attack.”

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