Latvia rejects plans to suspend issuing residents permits to Russian citizens

  • 2014-09-11
  • From wire reports, RIGA

(photo: twitter)

Latvia's government has rejected plans to suspend issuing residents permits to Russian citizens in an effort to protect national security.

It follows after members of All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK say Russia's actions in the Ukraine crisis need to be countered by making amendments to the immigration laws in Latvia.

Western leaders accuse Russia of sending troops into eastern Ukraine, a claim the latter has repeatedly denied. 

"Taking into account Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, which poses a threat to Latvia and all of Europe, as well as statistics that show that the majority of the permits are issued to Russian citizens, VL-TB/LNK believes that this practice must be ceased immediately as it is a question of national security," a statement from the party says.

VL-TB/LNNK stressed that Latvia should not take "such unwanted risks and cause itself additional threat." 

A total of 20 coalition deputies voted for the plans, whilst 25 abstained. Meanwhile, 34 opposition deputies and members of Reform Party's Saeima Group voted against.

Latvia's Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss said the plans should be discussed in greater detail.

Opposition Harmony Center MPs voted against the plans saying "canceling the right for Russian citizens - who have invested major sums of money in Latvia's economy - to receive the temporary residence permits." They referred to the motion as "VL-TB/LNNK's solo sanctions against Russia."