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According to the President of Latvia, it is necessary for the West to provide arms to Ukraine in order to prevent potential threats from Russia in the future.
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According to the President of Latvia, it is necessary for the West to provide arms to Ukraine in order to prevent potential threats from Russia in the future.

According to the president of Latvia, Russia is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine. He urges nations considering halting military aid to Kyiv to reconsider, as a lack of support could result in Ukraine’s defeat and give Russia the opportunity to intimidate other countries in the future.

During an interview with The Associated Press, Edgars Rinkēvičs emphasized the significance of actively promoting global peace and stability, particularly in Europe. He believes that taking action against Russia in Ukraine will prevent them from posing a threat to other nations.

He highlighted the significant impact of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group in Africa and the meetings between Russian officials and Hamas, the governing militants of the Gaza Strip. The attack by Hamas on October 7 in Israel resulted in the death of approximately 1,200 individuals.

In July, Rinkēvičs took the oath of office as the president of Latvia, a country that was previously part of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in August 1991. With a population of 1.9 million, this Baltic nation joined the European Union and NATO in 2004, strategically located on their eastern border with Russia spanning 214 kilometers.

Rinkēvičs, who was Latvia’s foreign minister for 13 years before being elected president, said that despite some members of the 27-nation EU having “their opinions,” at the end of the day the alliance has agreed on sanctioning Russia and on providing more support to Ukraine over Russia’s February 2022 invasion.

Surprisingly, during the interview on Thursday, he stated that the EU is currently more fragmented in regards to the Middle East compared to Ukraine.

He emphasized the significance of Western support for Ukraine and Israel in defending “our values” and upholding the international order. He also emphasized the importance of advocating for temporary ceasefires in the ongoing violence in Gaza to offer aid to innocent Palestinian civilians. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the death toll for Palestinians has exceeded 11,000 as a result of Israel’s retaliation against the Hamas attack.

Rinkēvičs stated that Iran is satisfied with the progress being made in the Middle East and referenced their supply of weapons and other resources to Russia for their involvement in Ukraine.

He stated that it is in NATO’s best interest to view both cases equally. He also believes that maintaining peace in Europe will be simpler if Ukraine is successful, rather than abandoning them, and also preventing the situation in the Middle East from escalating.

A servicewomen cries as she lays flowers to commemorate those killed in the war, as the city marks one year since Ukraine retook the city of Kherson from occupying Russian forces in Kherson, Ukraine, Nov. 11, 2023.

A female service member sheds tears while placing flowers to honor the lives lost in the war. The city of Kherson, Ukraine, commemorates the one-year anniversary of reclaiming the city from Russian forces on November 11, 2023.

Rinkēvičs expressed admiration for the courage of Ukrainian soldiers and stressed the obligation of the West to address President Zelenskyy’s request for additional weapons, acknowledging that they have not yet provided enough support.

According to him, Russia is preparing its economy, resources, and military for an extended period of war. Initially, they attempted to achieve a swift victory but failed, leading Moscow to now aim to weaken Ukraine by attacking its energy infrastructure, similar to what happened last winter.

Rinkēvičs emphasized the importance of the EU and NATO being ready for an extended conflict in Ukraine.

He stated, “The EU has acknowledged the need for increased defense and military capabilities. I hope to see this process expedited, but progress is being made.”

According to him, several European NATO countries still have not met the goal of allocating 2% of their GDP towards defense. He also mentioned that Latvia plans to allocate 2.4% of its GDP towards defense next year, and increase it to 3% by 2027. He emphasized the need for Europe to boost its production in the defense industry.

Numerous analysts and authorities have stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal is to endure beyond the Western backing of Ukraine in a protracted conflict.

Rinkēvičs stated that it is crucial for him to fail.

He mentioned that if the global community notices that Europe and the United States are not assisting Ukraine, it will create added strain for Israel.

He stated that Iran is likely to become more confident. We must also consider the entire Asian region and not overlook Taiwan.

The leader of Latvia stated that Russia is shifting from an autocracy to a totalitarian regime, utilizing propaganda tactics that are even more severe than those used during the Cold War.

He stated that they are displaying graphic images or videos, including animations, depicting the destruction of cities in Europe or the United States through the use of nuclear weapons. He also claimed that this portrayal suggests that using nuclear weapons is easy.

He stated that Ukrainians are being referred to as a “subhuman race,” which is similar to the language used by Nazi Germany towards Jews.

Rinkēvičs, currently in New York to initiate Latvia’s campaign for a U.N. Security Council position in 2026-27, publicly revealed his homosexuality in 2014 and is among the limited number of LGBTQ+ leaders in Europe.

According to Rinkēvičs, if society can accept a gay leader, he believes they will also become more inclusive and accepting of the entire community. This is the message he hopes will be received globally.