Latvian MEP and former defense minister Artis Pabriks (photo: LETA)
The West should offer Ukraine military and economic support amid the crisis in the country, Latvian MEP Artis Pabriks has said.
''In order to prevent attacks on Ukrainian cities, the West must give Ukrainian military assistance, as well as economic support, so that this country could endure the upcoming winter season, when Russia will most likely suspend gas shipments and carry out other negative measures towards Ukraine,'' Pabriks, a former defense minister told the LETA news agency.
Pabriks expressed doubts whether the ceasefire in the Ukraine would lst. The former defense minister also fears Russia will use the ceasefire to bring in more military equipment into Ukraine to turn the situation in the country into another frozen conflict.
Russia has repeatedly denied arming pro Russia rebels or sending Russian troops in to the country. Earlier this week, the EU imposed fresh sanctions on Russia amid the crisis in the Ukraine.
Russian President aide Yuri Ushakov said the sanctions would not change Moscow's stance on the crisis, RIA Novosti reports.
“These sanctions will have no impact on our principle approach to the crisis in this neighboring state,” Ushakov said, commenting on the law allowing the Kiev government to impose sanctions on Russia.
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed into law a bill that enables Kiev to introduce sanctions against foreign countries, including Russia. The law authorizes introduction of more than 20 restrictive measures, including a ban on transit of energy resources.
He said that NATO and the EU must understand that it is not possible to prevent this conflict with only economic sanctions, as they have failed to deter the Russian political elite and President Vladimir Putin.
Pabriks, however, believes Latvia should show its solidarity with the Ukraine by treating badly injured Ukrainians injured in the conflict.
Estonia and Lithuania have hosted injured Ukrainians in the past during the conflict.
Latvia should also increase its defense budget so Latvia could benefit from full NATO membership.