Wagner is a product of information warfare and many are falling for their 'glorification hook' - NAF commander

  • 2023-07-29
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Russian military mercenary group Wagner is a product of information warfare, and many are falling for their "glorification hook", Leonids Kalnins, Commander of the Latvian National Armed Forces (NAF), told LETA, commenting on various experts' comments on potential scenarios of Wagner's activities.

According to him, first of all, the public should not glorify this group, as its essence originated in Russian propaganda offices.

"Today, the Wagner theme, which was mainly focused on the Russian domestic audience and Ukraine, has spread beyond these countries. In principle, it is a product of information warfare and many are falling for this glorification hook", the Commander said.

Despite the fact that the group is also made up of professional fighters, they are no different from the Russian regulars who are already heavily involved in Belarus in training local forces.

Secondly, according to Kalnins, Latvia's security is monitored and maintained 24 hours a day, regardless of what forces appear and operate near the country's borders.

"If we were to fall prey to the various propaganda slogans and information activities of this kind that are being made in the information space, our security system would be very vulnerable," Kalnins added.

Thirdly, Latvia's national defense and security is being implemented in line with its main objectives, namely to absolutely mitigate the risks of any level of threat, regardless of the nationality, structural make-up and information campaigns of the forces.

"We are ready to react immediately and adequately to ensure national security and protect territorial integrity. And only after that can anyone analyze where the threat has come from and who has created it," the Commander stressed.

The NAF is ready for any scenario, including potential provocations or diversions on the border, which has been thought about and the army has trained for such scenarios.

"We have plans for a wide range of threats. But we are not preparing national defense for one specific threat," Kalnins added.

Asked whether additional army units should be deployed in Daugavpils or elsewhere in Latgale after Wagner's arrival in Belarus, the NAF commander replied that the Latvian territory is protected at the same level and the NAF perceives the entire Latvian territory as a monolithic and defensible object. At present, there is no need for reinforcements in any of the geographical points of Latvia.

"We have developed this system over the years to be able to provide a rapid response at any moment, at any geographical point, with a minimum time limit. Therefore, there is no need to move units to Daugavpils now," said the NAF Commander and reminded that the NAF has not lessened its assistance to the State Border Guard since the introduction of the state of emergency in the vicinity of the Latvian-Belarusian border.