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Tuesday 23.01.2018 | Name days: Strauta, Grieta

Vaidere: Russia does not respect the weak that stand by and merely watch

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU‘Latvia’s only true power is the EU and NATO, not some separate policy aimed at satisfying the aggressor. When condemning Russia and introducing economic sanctions against it, it is important to keep in mind that lives of people and independence of a country have a much higher value than possible economic losses,’ – said deputy of European Commission for Foreign Affairs Inese Vaidere in her interview to BNN.

When asked to comment the opinion of the criminally accused politician Aivars Lembergs, Vaidere said: ‘Russia respects the strong but does not respect the weak.’ In his interview to Ventas Balss, Lembergs had stated that Latvia should stand aside and remain silent while the big wage war.

Unlike ex-president of Latvia Vaira Vike Freiberga, who condemned the West for its ‘mild’ response to Russia’s actions in Crimea, Lembergs believes Latvia involves itself too much in this matter. ‘The big are busy fighting right now. The farther we are away from their feet, the less likely are they to step on us,’ – said Lembergs.

Furthermore, Vaidere was surprised by the opinion of President Andris Bērziņš, who said the invitation extended to President of Russia Vladimir Putin to visit Latvia remains in power. ‘I believe Latvia cannot afford to take such a position at the moment. I welcome the words of Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on how it is necessary to review the state policy in regard to Russia. Russia respects those who respect themselves. If Latvia cannot loudly announce the fact that Russia’s actions in regard to Ukraine were a rude violation, there is no reason to speak of self-respect,’ – says the politician.

She believes sanctions against Russia should be compiled collectively and that the EU should freeze bank accounts and set up a ban for entry of officials who support the aggression in Crimea. ‘The temporary residence permit trade should be put on an indefinite hold. Authorities should also investigate the people who have been provided with residence permits recently. If we continue to trade residence permits, there is a big risk to increase the proportion of people who are hostile to Latvia,’ – she adds.

She is certain that Latvia can feel safe, because it is guarded by NATO forces. She agrees that the reaction of the West in regard to the situation in Crimea was too soft and too late. She adds that there is a possibility that Crimea would not have been annexed by Russia if the West had reacted quicker and stronger. According to her, western countries mention this more and more often. ‘Putin stated in his speeches many times that the collapse of USSR was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the last century. Likely he wants to restore it by creating the Eurasian Union. I am certain that Russian residents living in Latvia are not interested in having Putin invade and add Latvia to Russia,’ – says Vaidere.

‘Both myself and my colleagues share common belief that actions of the EU in regard to this situation must be strict. Sanctions should be introduced against the administration of the Russian President, deputies of the Russian State Duma and their families,’ – as Vaidere had previously stated. ‘Sanctions are not the goal, because neither side benefits from them. However, strict political and diplomatic sanctions against Russian officials and their families may force Russia to change its policy.’

‘Russia is not afraid to openly violate international regulations. It believes all of its actions will have immediate and notable consequences. If the EU does not react confidently, the fate of not only Crimea but also that of Ukraine as a whole may be put at risk,’ – said Vaidere.


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  1. Ilmars says:

    Bravo Inese Vaidere for telling it like it is.
    Lemsbergs is Moscows man in Latvia , and it is likely that the money he uses to corrupt Latvian politicians comes from Russia.
    How else could there be such a muted response from the Latvian leaders.
    Berzins and Straujuma are corrupt , weak and not fit to lead Latvia.

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  2. Linda says:

    it’s good that indigenous politicals recognise the danger from the east. Ever vigiliant must we be.

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  3. Stasys from U.S. says:

    Ms. Vaidere is very correct on this question: Russia does not respect the weak that stand by and merely watch and merely comply to commands. USSR’s occupation of the Baltic States and the resistance by the Fiinns in 1939 and 1940, and most recently Georgia’s fight back against invasion are good evidence that strong posture is respected by Russia. It is never very simple, but for the Baltics to be acknowledged and their need for survival recognized in the world-wide forum, they must provide, in-spite of differences between them, a strong common face, a common voice, and an unfailing commitment to commonly defend themselves. While the current Ukrainian crisis will abate in time, there is little doubt, and three centuries of Russia’s politics provide ample evidence, that its quest to absorb the Baltic States in one form or another will ever diminish. It is therefore absolutely neccessary for the Baltic countries to reinforce their togetherness and ability to confront jointly any aggression that would undermine their survival as independent nations.

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