Paris (AFP) – On Wednesday, the Latvian prime minister accused Russia of trying to destabilize and divide Europe with a series of measures, including the latest increase in its troops on the border with Ukraine.
In an interview with AFP, Prime Minister Krišjānis Karencs described the increase in military forces as “worrying” and said it was the latest in a series of interrelated measures by the Kremlin, including restrictions on gas supplies and support for the Belarussian regime. and misinformation.
Speaking after Latvia received NATO foreign ministers in Riga, he called on NATO to strengthen its presence on the eastern side of the alliance in the face of Russian behavior.
The increase in troops on the border with Ukraine’s pro-Moscow separatist regions has sparked a warning from Washington that Russia is planning aggression against its neighbor, and has once again heightened concerns about the outbreak of the 2014 conflict.
“It’s all part of one interconnected set of events that seems to be destabilizing or causing divisions in Europe to some degree,” said Carens.
Carents, whose country shares a border with Russia and, like the other Baltic states, Estonia and Lithuania, said that “additional forces near Ukraine’s border are at least worrying because Russia’s intentions are unclear.” European Union and NATO.
He said of the strategy of Russian President Vladimir Putin: “I also think that Putin’s doctrine of rebuilding the Russian-speaking empire is somehow similar to the Soviet Union or otherwise seems high on the agenda.”
He said the West should step up all assistance to Ukraine, including military training and armaments, as this would reduce rather than increase the risk of conflict.
“We should not worry about helping Ukraine, because if there is a clear signal that we in the West are going to help Ukraine more, it could stop further escalation,” he said.
“If Russia comes to the conclusion that there will be no resistance, it will be a greater risk of an escalation of a real military conflict,” he added.
He said that Europe should negotiate with Russia from “positions of strength”, given that the European economy is much larger than the Russian economy.
“Just as Europe is to some extent dependent on Russian fossil fuel exports, Russia is dependent on European cash imports. We are not a weak (European) Union at all, “he said.
Faced with Russia’s efforts to create unrest in Europe, he said NATO and the EU had once again “joined forces”, and the alliance’s meeting in Riga proved this.
“NATO as a military alliance has, of course, ample choice” in the event of Russian aggression, citing “tough and targeted, possibly very broad economic sanctions” that could be imposed.
He also reiterated the request of the Baltic States to strengthen NATO’s presence on their borders.
“Currently, it would be very proportionate and understandable for NATO to increase its presence in the Baltic States. It’s not just about numbers, it’s about capabilities, technology and capabilities. ”
© 2021 AFP