Daugavpils mayor has no qualms about attending Lukashenko regime celebration

The Chairman of the Daugavpils City Council, Andrejs Elksniņš (Harmony party), attended a Belarusian Independence Day celebration hosted by a diplomatic representative of the Lukashenko regime held at the restaurant of the hotel "Latgola" on Tuesday, the television channel "ReTV" and the Internet portal "Chayka" report.

The event took place in the evening, and attendees included not only Elksniņš but deputy mayor Aleksejs Vasiļjevs (Latvian Russian Union), various businessmen and other persons.

Elksniņš told ReTV television and Chayka that currently a Belarusian diplomatic consulate still operates in Daugavpils, and therefore he accepted their invitation.

"I attend many events, organizations and happenings with great pleasure, in order to first of all take care of the interests of our citizens," said the chairman of Daugavpils City Council.

Asked whether he does not consider it inappropriate to go to an event organized by an aggressor state and which the Latvian government and president have condemned, Elksniņš answered cryptically: "I have not heard, I have read".

Both the State Security Service (VDD) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) expressed negative opinions of Elksniņš' decision.

The VDD pointed out that in the current geopolitical situation, the participation of Latvian state and local government officials in events organized by aggressor state Russia or its closest ally, the Lukashenko regime in Belarus, is not in line with Latvia's national security interests.

"Such an action contradicts the condemnatory stance of the Latvian state against the crimes committed by Russia against Ukraine and its people, and also does not contribute to the unity of Latvian society in these difficult circumstances," the VDD said.

Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Solvita Martinsone, noted that the Consulate General of Belarus in Daugavpils is not prohibited from holding festive events, however, Latvian officials should carefully evaluate participation in them, taking into account the illegitimate election of Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko, his repression of civil society, his orchestrated people-smuggling hybrid attack on Latvia's border, as well as his assistance of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

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