RIGA - Latvia would support accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, Latvian President Egils Levits said in an interview with LETA.
He underscored that Russia is an aggressive country who threatens its neighbors and the whole democratic world. Russia's attack on Ukraine has made "scales fall from the eyes" of the Western world, and now the countries have to consider what their future policies should be.
Over the past 70 years since the end of World War II, Sweden and Finland were underscoring their position that they are neutral countries. The decision on joining NATO should be made by the countries themselves, considering whether neutrality now is the best policy to protect oneself. "If these countries decide to join NATO, we will support and congratulate them," said Levits.
Commenting on potential accession of Ukraine and Georgia to NATO, Levits said that the alliance believes that any country has to right to join it. Accession of Ukraine and Georgia has not been on NATO's agenda, but over the recent weeks the public opinion is changing.
The president said that the fact that our society stands together with Ukraine is a strong message. "Our unity is being split, however, by those people who believe in Russian President Vladimir Putin's lies and spreading them. I call not to do that. Belief in Putin's lies does not depend on the nationality or language. People's stance and awareness of the Constitutional and democracy values is what matters," the president said.
He noted that Latvia should increase its security. In the recent years Latvia has enforced its capabilities considerably. Latvia is among those NATO member states who met the goal of the defense budget at 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Right now this has risen even to 2.35 percent.