RIGA - The flags of Ukraine and the European Union were raised at the Tower of Holy Spirit at the Riga Castle on Friday to mark Europe Day, which is also the day of remembrance for the victims of the war in Ukraine, while the Latvian flag was raised at half-mast.
President Egils Levits, Ukrainian Ambassador to Latvia Alexander Mishchenko, and the European Commission's Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis participated in the ceremony, as the President's Chancery informed LETA values.
Latvia has been celebrating Europe Day for 18 years, said Levits. The EU was founded after the war, and one of the objectives was to ensure that there would never be another war in Europe, so that the countries that had fought among themselves could build a new Europe together.
"This promise worked for a long time, but we see that now it has been broken, and we, the EU, must be on Ukraine's side, which is a victim of aggression, and support Ukraine in every possible way," said Levits.
The EU is the strongest political and economic union in the world, and Latvia is a member of the EU, said Levits. The president calls on everyone to be aware of their shared responsibility for the fact that the people, while building Latvia, are also building Europe. "We want to live in a Europe that is free, democratic, based on the rule of law, and well-developed".
Ukrainian Ambassador to Latvia Mishchenko emphasized that today was the 75th day of the war in Ukraine. A bloody Russian dictator decided to repeat Soviet history in the center of Europe, but the Ukrainian people chose European values and future in Europe, and the Ukrainian people are now paying with their blood for this right.
Ukraine will never deviate from this path, said the ambassador. Russia's army of marauders, killers and rapists is now killing children, the elderly and women to pressure Ukraine into submission. But this will never happen because Latvia, the EU and the entire civilized world stand with Ukraine, said the ambassador.
"I sincerely thank Latvia and its people for their help on all levels - the military, humanitarian and emotional support. I am convinced that Ukraine will win and Ukraine will be in the European Union, and we will defeat the Putin regime. Glory to Ukraine, and thank you Latvia," said the ambassador.
Dombrovskis emphasized that there had been discussions with EU citizens about what the future of the EU should look like. Citizens have made it clear that they want the EU to be more proactive and united. A final debate took place last week in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where EU citizens participated in a discussion with EU leaders. Europe has proved that it can act quickly and be united in a crisis. This is also the case at the moment when Russia is attacking Ukraine and, consequently, the whole democratic world. Europe and the international community are on Ukraine's side, providing Ukraine with the support it needs, said Dombrovskis.