Rinkēvičs in Davos: Russia wants to renew empire

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's ambition is rebuilding the Russian Empire as it was in the early 19th and early 20th centuries, Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs said in a breakfast discussion dedicated to Ukraine at the World Economic Forum in Davos, LETA reports.

Rinkēvičs noted that Russian propaganda and hybrid warfare point to this.

According to the President, being a Member of NATO and the European Union (EU) is the greatest security guarantee in the world. The President said Canada is leading NATO's expanded presence battle group in Latvia, which is planned to be increased to the brigade level.

The battle group includes soldiers from Latvia's allies, including Poland. According to Rinkēvičs, Latvia should also be prepared for hybrid war. For example, Belarus uses migration as a hybrid weapon against Latvia, Poland, and Lithuania. Disinformation is also constantly confronted.

“The Swedish government announced that a battalion of 800 soldiers will be sent to Latvia next year. In connection with this, one of the local portals or newspapers had a headline that after 300 years, Swedes have returned to Latvia because previously Sweden was in Latvia in the early 18th century,“ Rinkēvičs said.

The President confirmed that preparations are underway, but so are serious challenges.

One is the defense industry. In his view, the capacity of the defense industry needs to be increased, not only to help Ukraine, but also because we need much more technology ourselves.

Rinkevics pointed out that it is essential to increase public expenditure on defense – Latvia is planning to spend 3% of GDP on defense by 2027. The President added that in addition to military preparation, we need to be prepared for all kinds of provocations and hybrid warfare.

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