The president said that the decision of the Saeima on April 5 to establish a mandatory defense service was a step in the right direction. Levits stated that he had supported the establishment of such a service from the outset.
“The main reason is to strengthen our defense capabilities, we have to have a lot more people who can handle guns, it's also a matter of deterrence [of Russia],” the president said.
“Service at the State Defense Service is a teaching of patriotism at the same time. This means that a citizen fulfills his responsibility to defend his country if necessary, but in any case, he devotes part of his life – these 11 months – to the State,” said Levits.
At the same time, the President expressed regret over the fact that women were not required to serve because the obligation to defend their country “also applies to women” if necessary.
Overall, in terms of the current security situation in the region, Levits said that “we are in a very difficult situation”.
“This is the toughest situation since the state was restored. We have an aggressive neighbor [Russia] who is willing to attack those who can't or don't want to protect themselves.”
The President considers that the main priorities for Latvia's security are the strengthening of “all possible military assistance to Ukraine” and NATO, particularly the Eastern flank of the Alliance.