The Russian embassy in Latvia (photo: flickr)
The Russian embassy in Latvia is allegedly helping Latvian nationals wanting to fight for pro Russia rebels in the Ukraine, a video report shows.
The claims come after Latvian investigative program Panorama interviewed several Latvians wanting to fight for pro Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The wannabe fighters, who who remain anonymous, are heard saying that the Russian embassy is prepared to handle all necessary paperwork in order to head to eastern Ukraine.
The Russian Embassy in Latvia denied the claims in a statement and called the article 'provocative' and 'defamatory.'
But in the program, a man who declined to give his name, explained how the process works.
“We simply renounce (our) national citizenship and right there at the embassy they give you your tickets and you’re off to Russia. They said they are just waiting for us to come and sign up. My thought is, I’m prepared to go anywhere to fight, and I don’t know how much time I’ll spend there in Russia, but I will know that I am defending my identity, that I am a Russian and that I have a right to be Russian,” he said.
One man named Sergejs told Panorāma that he has already submitted his documents there and was told that he could travel to Ukraine right away if he wished.
In a statement, the Russian embassy called on Latvia's Foreign Ministry to investigate the program and its makers.
"This is a provocative, defamatory story. We hope that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and intelligence agencies will understand and take the necessary measures to bring to justice its customers and manufacturers," the statement said.
Latvia's Security Police (DP) said it was investigating the claims whilst three criminal cases were active against Latvians actively serving in eastern Ukraine.
It follows after videos surfaced earlier this year showing interviews with two Latvians from Ludza fighting for pro Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Latvia's security police raided homes of Latvians connected to the separatists confiscating weapons and launching criminal proceedings earlier this month.
(Edited by Rayyan Sabet-Parry)