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Baltic states not Russophobic - ex Latvian president

  • 2016-02-29
  • BNS/TBT-STAFF/RIGA

Speaking in Lithuania on February 27, former Latvian president, Valdis Zatlers, claimed that the European Union cannot make any concessions to Russia until the Minsk agreement on a truce in Eastern Ukraine is implemented.

In an interview with BNS Lithuania, Zatlers said the Baltic states are not Russophobic and seek friendly relations with Russia. However, he stated but they will never accept Russian aggression and are ready to respond to any Russian intervention "in a few seconds".

"We will never say that Crimea is not Ukraine's territory," said Zatlers. “We'll never say that Donetsk and all that part of Ukraine is "something special" – it's Ukraine. 

“That's the key point for sustainability in the future, and if Russia is going to attack us, we are going to retaliate immediately - in a few seconds."

According to Zatlers, nobody has threatened a single square meter of Russia's territory since WWII.

He compared his warnings to the relations between a bank and a client taking a mortgage. "As you go to the bank and you read the treaty you sign, you say, the bank is a robber! But if you pay on time, nothing happens," he said.

Speaking about discussions regarding the EU lifting its existing sanctions on Russia and seeking compromises, Zatlers said that "the Minsk agreement is already a compromise and we have to stick to it.”

"There are no other compromises because otherwise it's not a good method of dealing with Russia. You have to state very clear rules and your statements should be as clear as possible," he underlined. 

He added, however, that there is no Russian threat to the Baltic states at present.

"There was real threat two years ago, but now it's over,” he explained. “The problem is Russia's self-isolating policies. 

“It's strange because there are very few countries, like Cuba, like North Korea, that build their foreign policies and develop plans of self-isolation. 

“It never leads to prosperity, but that's their own business we cannot influence that. 

“We have to behave very smartly and understand that we cannot influence what's going on in Russia, but we can influence what's going on beyond Russia's borders with the rest of the world," he said.

Zalters served as Latvia's president between 2007 - 2011.