RIGA - By spreading hostile rhetoric on Ukraine on federal TV channels, the Russian government has been preparing the public for "something serious", but the strictly negative reactions from NATO and the West have resulted in "quite complicated and dramatic" situation, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said in an interview with TV3 channel Friday.
The minister said that with this sequence of events - first Russia's ultimatums and then Western countries' refusal accept these ultimatums - Russia has in a way driven itself into a corner.
Rinkevics indicated that all diplomatic means are now being put to use to avert a Russian invasion into Ukraine, but declined to predict whether these efforts will be successful. The minister said that peace is always possible as long as war has not broken out and that even war can be stopped by diplomacy.
"In find the current unanimity and activity on the part of European Union and NATO member states very commendable, and if something bad happens, it will be not because somebody will have not tried all diplomatic means, but because the Russian government will have decided to go ahead with the war, but in such case all responsibility will lie with the Russian side," the foreign minister said.
Asked how many refugees Latvia should prepare to take in if Russia invades Ukraine, Rinkevics did not give exact numbers but noted that Latvia does not have a border with Ukraine unlike other countries that have already made concrete announcements on the issue. Still, Latvian authorities are preparing for a possible influx of refugees, Rinkevics said.
Latvia must plan for an arrival of war refugees from Ukraine but this would be secondary migration. At the same time, a situation may occur where a EU country is unable to cope with a huge influx of refugees, which means that other countries will need provide assistance by activating the EU's refugee relocation mechanism, Rinkevics said.
The minister called against overreacting by envisioning "various apocalyptic scenarios". "We need to be prepared, we are preparing, but we cannot give any exact numbers. This is still a time of diplomacy, this is not yet a time of bad scenarios, and I would like to hope that this diplomatic scenario will eventually prevail," the foreign minister said.
As reported, Russia has massed some 100,000 troops along Ukraine's border, causing concerts about a new military campaign against this country.