United Nations, Nov 12 (AP) Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said Russia is now planning a protracted war in Ukraine and that it should send a message to countries hesitant to continue military support to Kiev that the arms embargo could be halted. Keep the supplies coming, otherwise the Ukrainians will lose, opening the door for Russia to threaten other countries in the future.
“It’s really important to fight for international peace and peace in Europe, because if we block Russia in Ukraine, it won’t be able to challenge other countries,” Rinkevics said in an interview with The Associated Press.
He pointed to the disruptive role being played by Russia’s private army Wagner Group in Africa and meetings of Russian officials with ruling Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip.
Rinkevics was sworn in as President of Latvia in July. This country was a part of the erstwhile Soviet Union until its dissolution in August 1991. Latvia, with a population of approximately 1.9 million, joined the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004.
This country holds great importance on the eastern front in Europe in view of sharing a 214 km long border with Russia.
Rinkevics, who served as Latvia’s foreign minister for 13 years before becoming president, said that despite some members of the 27-nation EU “having their own opinions”, the bloc ultimately agreed to a February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. It has agreed to impose sanctions on Russia and provide more support to Kiev.
“What’s interesting is that at this point the EU is more divided over the situation in the Middle East than over Ukraine,” he said.
Rinkevics said it was important for the West to support Ukraine and Israel against attacks on “our values” and the international order. He also stressed the need for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza to provide essential aid to Palestinian civilians.
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, the death toll in the area has crossed 11,000 due to Israel’s actions in response to the unexpected attacks by Hamas on October 7.
AP Parul Santosh