Even if Ukraine liberates all conquered territories, Russia's military threat to Europe will remain - Karins

  • 2024-01-02
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Even if Ukraine liberates all the conquered territories, Russia's military threat to Europe will remain, Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) believes.

He expressed this opinion to LETA, commenting on unofficial information that the consequences of a hypothetical Russian victory are being considered in Europe.

He stressed that, regardless of the outcome of the war, Russia is and remains a threat to the whole of Europe. In Karins' view, once the war is over, the threat will start to grow - Russia will continue to rebuild its armed forces. The existence of the Russian government, he pointed out, is based on imperialist ambitions.

"The Russian government is incapable of improving the well-being of its people. All the cards are staked on finding an external enemy and the belief that the collapse of the USSR was the greatest evil. That is why it is necessary to recover the lost territories with victory. The sad thing is that this is not a Kremlin war, it has become a war supported by the Russian people. Russian society has accepted it. Russia is on an imperialist expansionist path and continues to be a threat to Europe," the Foreign Minister stressed.

Karins admitted that such talk about the possible loss of Ukraine or certain territories and Russia's victory is meant to motivate Western countries and societies not to allow such a scenario. According to the Foreign Minister, a victory in Ukraine would show the Kremlin that its policy has been correct - it can attack its neighbors and gain from it.

"That is why it is unacceptable. This is not an attack only on Ukraine and Europe. It is an attack on the post-World War II order, in which the rule of law, not force, plays the central role," the Foreign Minister said, adding that the US is traditionally seen as the main guardian of this established order.

He pointed out that the European countries that are members of NATO are increasingly having to take care of their own security. This is easy to say in the Baltic States, as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia consistently invest in their defense and security. This makes it easier for both the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister to talk to partners about the need to invest more in security.

According to Karins, if Latvia spends 2 percent of GDP on defense, that is one budget, but if Germany spends 2 percent of GDP on defense, it would be a completely different amount. Last year, the German Parliament supported EUR 100 billion in defense investment. Germany's military industry is being developed and a great deal of emphasis is being placed on rebuilding the country's armed forces. According to Karins, Germany has changed its post-war pacifist approach 180 degrees, realizing that it no longer works after February 24, 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Asked whether countries and societies were tired of the war because the Ukrainian counter-offensive, on which high hopes had been pinned, had not succeeded to the extent that could have been hoped, the Foreign Minister stressed that it could not be said that Ukraine sad not succeeded in the war. Ukraine, with the support of its allies, had regained some of the occupied territories it had lost to a much stronger opponent.

"Years from now, the assessment of Ukraine's counter-offensive will be much clearer. One of the factors that may have influenced the counter-attack was that many Western allies did not put more powerful weapons at Ukraine's disposal quickly enough. We remember the talk that Ukraine would not be given tanks. Ukraine now has, for example, US Abrams tanks and German Leopard tanks. There was talk that under no circumstances would Ukraine be given combat aircraft. Several countries are currently training Ukrainian pilots in F-16 fighter jets. Some countries have promised to donate a significant number of fighter jets to Ukraine," Karins said.