Researcher: Latvia is 'too secretive' about defense

The feeling of insecurity in society, when it comes to military threats, is caused by the fact that there is an exaggerated position of secrecy in the field of national security, said Valdis Kuzmins, a researcher at the National Defense Academy, in an interview with Latvian Radio on March 7.

The researcher said that Latvia, for example, has world-class air defense systems, however, we are not talking about it. “It gives the impression that we have nothing,” Kuzmins said. “Those radars that we have bought you can hardly read anything about in Latvian, we have surveillance systems that are the world's best and they have been installed for years.”

He acknowledged that there are not enough air defense missiles in Latvia, but currently, there is a billion euro purchase for the purchase of IRIS-T systems.

“Latvian Armed Forces have the most effective anti-tank protection system in the world,” said the researcher, saying that because of this secrecy, Latvian National Armed Forces are often doubted in society.

Latvia currently has no military threat, as repeatedly stated the National Armed Forces (NBS), military experts, and President Edgars Rinkēvičs. This is why the recent speculation in the information room about a possible increase in threats in Europe, including Latvia, has been widely criticized.

NBS Major Jānis Slaidiņš said Wednesday that the public needs to understand that Latvia is a Member of NATO, Latvia currently has no direct military threat, and therefore residents should be more careful about this type of information and not to cause panic. 

Jānis Sārts, director of NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, added that two parallel things are happening in the information room. One is a discussion among Western world leaders and experts about the risks to Europe in case they don't do more to protect Ukraine. But in parallel, mostly Russian information operations are increasingly evolving, in which attempts are made to build a message that Russia will win, Ukraine will lose, and then Russia will attack NATO, including the Baltic States.

“That means we need to understand two things. The first thing is that if you want peace, you have to prepare for war, and this is no longer an abstract saying, it is a very practical saying in this geopolitical situation. The second – apart from NATO Article 5 – is Article 3 – every country must be able to defend its own territory first, and only then do the others come. And that, too, has to be on our agenda, and I think that's true,“ Sārts said.

Meanwhile President Edgars Rinkēvičs emphasized that we must be ready for hybrid war. 

The NBS leadership has urged residents not to share further threat messages in order not to support Russia's propaganda machinery, which is trying to sow fears of a possible attack on Latvia or another NATO Member.

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