RIGA - Europe must continue to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian military aggression, including by increasing the production capacity of the defense industry, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said in a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday.
"I agree with the German Chancellor's assessment that we are currently at a historical turning point. Russia is reorganizing its economy for a long-term war. It is important in Europe, Germany, and Latvia to increase the production capacity of the defense industry and to continue providing support to Ukraine," said Karins, adding that Europe must not only economically strong, but also militarily strong.
"Ukrainians, sacrificing their lives, are fighting for our common values. Under Putin's leadership, Russia wants to see oppression instead of freedom, autocracy instead of democracy, and brutal force instead of the rule of law. It is in our interest to do everything to stop Russia's military aggression and we need to continue to provide support to Ukraine as long as necessary," said Karins and emphasized that the challenge of all of Europe is to endure the hardships of the war together with Ukraine and support its Euro-Atlantic efforts.
As LETA was informed by the State Chancellery, the Latvian politician said that the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius this summer will be important for the Baltic states, until which progress must be made in implementing the decisions taken at the NATO summit in Madrid on strengthening NATO's presence on the Eastern flank. Karins thanked Scholz for Germany's contribution in leading the NATO battle group in Lithuania, thereby strengthening the defense capabilities of all the Baltic states.
In a conversation with the Chancellor of Germany, the Prime Minister of Latvia emphasized the need to establish an international war tribunal to investigate war crimes and crimes of aggression committed by Russia and try the perpetrators.
The heads of the governments of Latvia and Germany also discussed the possibilities of economic cooperation. Karins sees cooperation opportunities between Latvian and German energy companies in the field of renewable energy, as well as in the field of the digital and military industries.
During the meeting with the German Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate Protection Robert Habeck, Karins discussed the strengthening of Europe's energy independence by renouncing Russian energy resources, as well as further steps in developing the capacities of renewable energy resources. Karins stated that Latvia and Germany have good opportunities for cooperation, especially in wind energy, hydrogen production and interconnections.
During his visit to Berlin, the Prime Minister also met with the head of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Friedrich Merz. Both politicians agreed that the most important task for Europe at the moment is providing support to Ukraine.
Addressing German businessmen at the annual forum of the Association of German Small and Medium Enterprises, the Prime Minister of Latvia emphasized that it is in the interests of all Europe to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian military aggression, therefore it is necessary to develop the production capacity of the defense industry. Karins expressed that the future basis of European economic development should be energy independence, digitization and strengthening of the European Union's internal market. The Prime Minister pointed out the potential of cooperation between Latvian and German companies and invited German companies to invest in Latvia's national economy.