RIGA - As the war started by Russia against Ukraine continues, the corridors of power in Moscow live with the hope that Western solidarity will collapse, Latvian Ambassador to Russia Maris Riekstins said in an interview with the Diena newspaper.
"In my opinion, the causes of this war are already clear, why we have come to this Russian aggression in Europe, in the world, - (...) Putin's speech in Munich in 2007 clearly marked Russia's dissatisfaction with the existing world order after the end of the Cold War. They obviously realized that it would be difficult for them to compete with the West economically. Further actions - the war in Georgia, the invasion of Crimea in 2014 - this is already the realization of this policy. The policy of the last year, in my opinion, quite clearly marks a deliberate, purposeful turn against the West, against the existing order in the world, with the desire to achieve a greater role for Russia in international relations, which resulted in this imperial approach, in the seizure of territories," said the diplomat.
In his view, as long as this policy in Russia does not change, the threat to European security will remain. "Russia seems to believe that they have more time resources, that they will be able to withstand this. They hope that the high level of Western solidarity, the level of which was obviously one of the biggest surprises for them after February 24, will collapse, that the societies of Western countries will not be ready to pay for this policy with higher tariffs for energy resources. I think that this is the hope that is present in the corridors of power in Moscow."
The diplomat emphasized that from the point of view of Latvia's interests, it is important to continue supporting Ukrainians "in their holy struggle for the liberation of their territory, independence, and for the fight for their country, families, children".
"Currently, the policy of the West, including Latvia, should be directed towards providing support to the sovereign European country that is Ukraine, helping to defend itself, thus defending all our interests, because it is not acceptable to return to a situation on the European continent where national borders can be changed due to some imperial ambitions. Therefore, we must support the Ukrainians and through this prove to Russia that they will not be able to win this war, will not be able to win Ukraine, that they will have to leave the occupied territories," the ambassador continued.
"Our main task is to support the independence of Ukraine, the fundamental right of the citizens of any country to decide for themselves how to live, which organizations to join and which future to build for themselves. If we consider this unimportant, then, sorry, the question is only when other European democracies will be faced with similar direct threats to their existence," said Riekstins.
Asked to assess whether there is a threat that the war started by Russia could develop on a wider scale, Riekstins said that NATO members are aware of this risk and "are determined to work to prevent the development of such a war, but if really, God forbid, it could happen at some point , the alliance would be ready for all kinds of scenarios".
Currently, Riekstins' formal term in Moscow has ended, but changing the Latvian ambassador to Russia has not been discussed. "I assume that for now this is not being discussed, also because a new government is being formed in Latvia, and when it is formed, then we will look further," added the diplomat.