Regional development minister expects Daugavpils mayor to explain participation in Belarus Independence Day celebration

  • 2022-07-08
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Arturs Toms Pless (Development/For) will demand explanations from Daugavpils Mayor Andrejs Elksnins (Harmony) about his participation in a celebration of Belarus' Independence Day in the restaurant of the Hotel Latgola.

Russia uses Belarusian territory to fire missiles at Ukraine and kill its residents on a daily basis, Pless wrote on his Facebook account. 

"Cooperation with such regimes is not possible. It a threat to national security. I will immediately demand that Daugavpils Mayor Elksnins explain his actions," the minister said. 

As reported, Mayor Elksnins was among the guests attending the celebratory event hosted by the Belarusian Consulate General in Daugavpils in the restaurant of the Hotel Latgola on Tuesday, ReTV channel and Chayka web portal reported.

The event started in the evening and was only attended by invited guests, including Elksnins and Daugavpils Vice Mayor Aleksejs Vasiljevs (Latvia's Russian Union), as well as entrepreneurs and other persons.

Elksnins told ReTV and Chayka that Belarus has a diplomatic mission in Daugavpils and that notwithstanding any announcements it is still functioning.

"I am glad to attend various events and organizations to first of all take care of the interests of our residents," the Daugavpils mayor said.

Asked by ReTV and Chayka if he doesn't see it not quite right to attend an event hosted by an aggressor state denounced by the Latvian government and president, Elksnins said: "I haven't heard or read about it".

Both the State Security Service and the Foreign Ministry gave their comments on the Daugavpils mayor's actions to ReTV and Chayka.

Representatives of the State Security Service indicated that in the current geopolitical situation Latvian state or municipal officials' participation in events hosted by aggressor state Russia or its close ally Belarus is incompatible with Latvia's national security interests.

"This goes against Latvia's condemnatory stance on the crimes Russia has committed against Ukraine and its people, and it also is not conducive to the unity of Latvia's society in these complicated circumstances," the State Security Service said.

Foreign Ministry representative Solvita Martinsone noted that the Belarusian Consulate General in Daugavpils is not forbidden to host celebratory events, but that Latvian officials should think twice before attending them, considering Belarusian authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko's illegitimate elections, repressions against civic society, the hybrid attack against Latvia's state border, as well as Russia's aggression in Ukraine.