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Latvian army reports receiving Russian-produced tea

The National Armed Forces (NBS) has received food products originating in Russia and Belarus in the procurement of the National Defense Logistics and Procurement Center, the Ministry of Defense (AM) confirmed to Latvian Television on February 5.

NBS orders food products through the State Logistics and Procurement Center, and 2.6 kilograms of Russian tea were delivered to the Army in October – the same brand reached Latvian Television in January through the state and local government procurement system. This year, in January, the army received 7 kilograms of salt produced in Belarus. Both goods are said to have been returned.

The deliveries were made by LLC “Lanekss”, which also supplied tea from Russia to Latvijas Televizija and whose name currently appears in the investigation into alleged food fraud at the Ādaži military base, as reported by TV3's “Nothing personal” program.

NBS Joint Chief of Staff for Support Kaspars Zdanovskis also confirmed the investigation. He abstained from broader comments. He also said that to stop working with LLC “Lanekss” would be a court-level decision.

“I mean, tea like this has come down to our canteens, we've fixed it and we haven't used that tea. The agreements currently in place do not contain a written rule that they cannot supply Belarusian and Russian products,” Zdanovskis said.

In January, LTV reported that by ordering goods in the electronic procurement system, which state and local government institutions use, LTV also received goods from Russia. Specifically tea. The product was supplied by the same company, LLC “Lanekss”.

In an email to LTV Ņina Siliņa, board Member of Lanekss, explained that since the news story in January “Lanekss” has withdrawn all transactions with goods that have the slightest connection with Russia and Belarus – the procurement of goods manufactured by Russia and Belarus has been suspended, despite the fact that the goods in question are not included in the sanctions lists.

Defense Minister Andris Sprūds (Progressives) stressed that Russian and Belarusian goods should not be in the NBS.

“Controls on goods are and will be ensured, and suppliers must face legal consequences for the supply of goods of inappropriate origin,” Sprūds noted.

The State Regional Development Agency (VRAA), which oversees the electronic procurement system, is currently assessing, together with lawyers, whether a particular merchant could be targeted. For now, the distribution of these goods in the State and local government procurement system has been suspended.

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