There are no direct military threats to Latvia at the moment - defense minister

  • 2020-08-17
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - There are no direct military threats to Latvia at the moment, but in its plans, the defense ministry has played out a variety of scenarios involving a deterioration of the situation in Belarus, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Development/For) told LETA. 

The defense minister said that in recent years Latvia has already been warning its allies in the European Union and NATO about Belarus as one of the weak links after Ukraine. 

"Since we have been warning others, we have obviously played out many different scenarios about Belarus in our plans. As for Latvia's security, nobody is threatening Latvia's security at the moment, and we are as prepared for any scenario as possible," Pabriks said. 

Latvia's priority is to have democratic and independent countries as its neighbors. "If Belarus loses its independence for some reason, this will automatically weaken the balance of power. Developments in Belarus can directly affect our own security and interests, but we are not raising panic at the moment," Pabriks said. 

The Latvian National Armed Forces (NAF) are operating according to the existing procedures and have not been put on increased alert. There are no plans to move troops closer to Latvia's eastern border either, the minister said. 

"At any rate, we are following each step and event in our neighborhood very carefully," the minister said. 

Pabriks also believes that there is no need at the moment to involve the military in guarding the border with Belarus. He noted that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Latvia has already stepped up border controls with Belarus and that soldiers were also involved in border patrols for a while. 

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told journalists after today's closed government sitting on the situation in Belarus that the government heard the ministers of interior and defense. Both ministries have action plans for various scenarios, he said.

Karins said that there are no plans to step up controls on the Belarusian border for now.