Russia's foreign policy poses unprecedented military escalation threat to whole region - Rinkevics

  • 2022-01-27
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Russia is implementing confronting and revisionist foreign policy that together with the military build-up by the Ukrainian border causes unprecedented military escalation to the whole region, said Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) at the Saeima foreign policy debate.

He said that the international security situation is dangerously fragile, the gap of distrust and values has become huge among countries. The minister believes that geopolitical competition, rivalry of democracy and authoritarianism, increase of inequality and polarization and hybrid threats have left an impact on development of international situation.

Rinkevics also mentioned the illegitimate Belarus regime that continued hybrid attacks on the EU and NATO eastern border.

He underscored that the romantic period after the Cold War has ended. There is a renaissance of authoritarian regimes in the world. Fight for democratic values and rule of law has resumed.

The minister underscored that Latvia and other Baltic states are in institutionally stable situation. There are no better alternatives than NATO and EU membership. However, security is a process, not a goal.

"The historical experience of Latvia and a broader region makes our mind restless. There are questions whether we will not be betrayed, whether our fates will not be decided by the big countries again? I am confident that there will not be a new Munich or Yalta. We will not be betrayed," said the minister.

In his opinion, it is especially important for Latvia to be in the community of democratic countries, cherish the basic values and reject division of the world and Europe in spheres of influence. The minister said that neutrality or indecisiveness is not possible at the moment.

"Therefore, if there is an attack on Ukraine, Latvia strictly supports immediate new sanctions against Russia. Already now we are providing support to the Ukrainian armed forces. We are working on expanding and strengthening the NATO forces in the region for security and defense of all Baltic states," the minister said.

The minister said that the main priority of Latvia's foreign service is security, independence, territorial integrity and development of national economy.

Rinkevics said that the main task of NATO - protection of NATO territory, its residents and values - remains unchanged. 

"For several years already, NATO enhanced forward presence battle group applies efficient deterrence policy in Latvia together with our National Armed Forces and Home Guard. This is a proof to the solidarity of the allies and readiness to defend Latvia's territory and residents against any possible aggression," the minister said.

The minister thanked Canada, Albania, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain for their significant contribution to the security of Latvia and the whole region.

"We ourselves also have to strengthen our border, protect our cyber space and information space. We have to increase defense expenditure to 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product. Therefore, in the coming years funding for internal security - the law enforcement system, protection of the state border and state security institutions - should be increased," the minister said.