RIGA - At a time when Russia is attacking Ukraine there can be no celebrations of the May 9 Victory Day and victims of World War II should be remembered in cemeteries, Nils Usakovs, a member of the European Parliament and one of the leaders of Harmony party, said in an interview with to TV24 channel.
"We are calling on people to remember the fallen [soldiers] by laying flowers in cemeteries and lighting candles in windows on May 9. I am also urging to let people lay flowers at the monument in Victory [Park], because a complete ban can lead to increased tensions and security risks," said Usakovs who used to be one of the organizers of May 9 celebrations in Riga.
The MEP also supports the creation of a photo exhibition depicting the horrors of the war in Ukraine but proposes to display these photographs in downtown Riga so that more people could see them.
Usakovs praised the performance of the State Police and State Security Service and voiced confidence that these law enforcement authorities will cope with their tasks excellently.
"Russian and Ukrainian soldiers once used to fight against Nazism, but now Russians are attacking Ukrainians, so this year celebrations are out of question. Putin and the Kremlin must not be allowed to steal our memory and remembrance dates, we must not allow this to happen," the MEP said.
As reported, gatherings on May 9 which is marked as Victory Day in Russia, will be considered as support for Russia's aggression in Ukraine, State Police chief Armands Ruks in an interview with the Latvian public television.
Riga Mayor Martins Stakis (For/Progressives) has said he would call on the capital city's executive director not to authorize the annual May 9 celebration by a Soviet-era memorial in Riga.
May 9 is the day Russia marks the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. Many Russian-speakers in Latvia also celebrate Victory Day on May 9. Elsewhere in the world, including in Latvia, the official day for commemoration of the end of World War II is May 8, while May 9 is Europe Day.