Expect more Kremlin-inspired mischief, says president-elect

Latvia can expect more provocations and publicity stunts along the lines of last week's bizarre incident in which two Russian citizens illegally entered a military base in Latvia while an international exercise was under way, Latvia's outgoing Defense Minister and president-elect Raimonds Vejonis said in an interview with the BNS newswire Tuesday.

There were no serious concerns about the security of important defense facilities in Latvia, Vejonis said in response to last week's trespass in which two men climbed a wall with a ladder, armed with anti-Nato leaflets.

 "The incident [in the Adazi military base] is a proof of this. They were detained as soon as they climbed the fence,” Vejonis said.

But Latvia has to be prepared for similar provocations in future, he warned.

"It was the first such provocation in Latvia. We responded to it adequately. This shows that, following the developments in Ukraine, we have reviewed and revised many internal procedures and improved our capacity to respond to different situations,” the minister said.

The Latvian court has remanded in custody two Russian citizens – Andrejs Popko and Alexander Kurkin, who were detained for illegally entering the territory of the Adazi military base in Latvia with the black-and-orange St. George flag (associated with the Russian military), and their leaflets on June 10. The two men now face criminal charges for spying, attempted terrorist activities and conspiracy.

The Adazi base and military training ground in central Latvia is one of the locations hosting the multi-national military exercise Saber Strike organized in the Baltic states and Poland from June 8-19 with participation of more than 6,000 troops from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, the UK and the US.

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