RIGA - It is very clear that Russia is going through an internal turmoil and we, democracies, have to understand that in autocracies such things can happen and events can change very quickly, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity, JV) said commenting on the events of June 23 in Russia, when the head of the mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin announced that Wagner mercenaries from Ukraine had entered Russia and were heading to Moscow to overthrow the Russian military leadership.
Speaking at the European Council today, Karins stressed that one of the key themes of the European Council is what is happening in Russia, what the consequences are for Europe and what we need to do.
"We cannot control what happens in Russia, but we can control what we do outside," said the Prime Minister, pointing out that ''we must continue to strengthen our own defense''.
While underlining that many of the European Council members will be going to the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July, the Prime Minister said that it is important to adapt the new NATO plans and to continue to strengthen the eastern flank, as has been done so far.
Efforts to support Ukraine must also be stepped up, including with arms, ammunition and financing. As well as taking steps to help Ukraine join the European Union.
At the same time, Ukraine's accession to NATO after the end of the war is to be discussed in Vilnius. The Prime Minister stressed that NATO membership is the best guarantee of security for Ukraine - "the only way to ensure peace in the future".
Karins stressed the importance of Ukraine's reconstruction: the country already needs housing, schools and hospitals. "Russia must pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine", the Prime Minister said. At the same time, he pointed out that there is a lot of money in Russia's frozen assets and a way must be found to use this money to rebuild Ukraine.
Karins also pointed to migration in Europe as an important topic of the European Council talks, while stressing that Latvia has been facing a flow of migrants from Belarus for more than two years.
As reported, today and tomorrow in Brussels, Karins is attending a meeting of heads of state and government of the European Union (EU) member states, where further support for Ukraine will be decided, the prime minister's office told LETA.
Before the European Council, EU leaders are scheduled to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss Europe's security challenges, with a particular focus on EU-NATO cooperation and joint efforts to help Ukraine in its war against Russia.
The European Council is also scheduled to decide on EU economic policy issues, migration challenges and the EU's external relations with China.