Daugavpils mayor reminded about international law by Ministers

Take note – story published 1 year and 7 months ago

Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs issued a thinly-veiled rebuke November 8 to the mayor of the country's second-largest city in response to comments made by the Chairman of the Daugavpils City Council, Andrejs Elksniņš, concerning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

In an official letter, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, said some of Elksniņs' statements "run contrary to the foreign policy positions of Latvia" according to a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"The Foreign Minister notes that all  Latvian public officials are expected to respect Latvia’s foreign policy position, and he also calls on Andrejs Elksniņš in his capacity of a local government official to strictly adhere to that standpoint, be accurate in his declarations concerning foreign policy matters, and voice the national position in a clear and unambiguous manner," the statement said.   

"The Minister underlines in his letter that Latvia condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s illegal and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine. Russia’s actions present a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and international law," the statement said, without reproducing the text of the letter verbatim.

"Latvia invariably and unambiguously recognises Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders. Sham referendums staged by Russia in the Ukrainian territories in 2014 and 2022 and their results are illegitimate and do not reflect the will of the Ukrainian people. Latvia strongly condemns, and does not recognise the illegal annexations of those territories.

The Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson regions, as well as Crimea and the city of Sevastopol are internationally recognised territories of Ukraine," the Ministry added.

As previously reported by LSM, Elksniņš' response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been questioned more than once. In July he was criticised for hobnobbing with Belarusian officials, while more recently he was seen to have dragged his feet over demolishing a Soviet-era memorial and even encouraged locals to lay flowers at it during its final days.

The Foreign Ministry is not the only one to be infuriated by the Daugavpils mayor's recent comments. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM) has invited the State Security Service (VDD) to probe comments he made on the Delfi news portal which stated that Crimea is part of the Russian Federation, instead of part of Ukraine, as recognized by international law.

Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Artūrs Toms Plešs noted: "While Ukrainians are fighting for the independence of their country and Russia continues to wage a bloody war against its neighboring country, it is unacceptable to side with the aggressor."

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