RIGA - Latvia and the European Union must remember that if we now give in to Russia somewhere in relation to Ukraine, the pressure on us will increase, Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks (For Development) emphasized in an interview with Latvian Television this morning.
In Pabriks' view, in these circumstances there must be humanitarian and military support for Ukraine.
The Minister emphasized that, despite the tensions at Ukraine's borders, Latvia is safe, no one is threatening the country's borders and the army is well prepared.
Meanwhile, in an interview with TV3 this morning, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) also pointed out that Latvia is currently under no direct military threat, and that Latvia is a part of a strong NATO military alliance that guarantees security. However, Karins admitted that there are risks of cyber attacks on Latvia.
The Prime Minister emphasized that Latvia will support Ukraine in every way possible, so that it remains a free and independent state.
Commenting on Russia's statements about a partial withdrawal of troops from Ukraine's borders, Pabriks said that these statements were as credible as much of Russia's rhetoric, thus until a real withdrawal is actually observed, the threat to Ukraine will remain.
As Pabriks pointed out, even if Russia withdraws some of its forces, it must be taken into account that Russia is likely to continue its military pressure on Ukraine and the West.
Pabriks said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was somewhat happy that Western leaders were coming to talk to him, but the minister felt that it would be very difficult to change Putin's policies through negotiations alone.
''If we have avoided war, it will be due to the fact that NATO has remained united and able to show its teeth,'' the politician said.
Speaking about possible refugees from Ukraine, who could come to Latvia as a result of possible hostilities, Karins assessed that these people would be relatively easily integrated into Latvian society, and they would have to be given job opportunities.