Latvia's armed forces and civil authorities train to deter any military threat to Daugavpils

On February 19, in Daugavpils, a joint exercise dubbed 'Pilskalns' (Hillfort) of the 3rd Latgale Brigade of the National Guard, the 34th Infantry Battalion, the Civil Defense Commission of the Cooperation Territory of Daugavpils and the Upper Daugava Region took place, according to a release from Latvia's Armed Forces (NBS).

It is the second time this type of training has take place in Daugavpils – Latvia's second-largest city which lies close to the Russian and Belarusian borders.

"The purpose of the 'Pilskalns' exercise is to improve the understanding of state and local government institutions about the division of responsibilities and practical actions in the event of a military threat. The participants of the training acted out various scenarios of crisis situations, in which the civil defense commission made decisions and determined response plans, so that in the event of a military threat, civilians would be provided with basic needs," explained the release.

Military officials as well as council officials and heads of regional units of strategically important state institutions and companies cooperated in the drills.

The Chief of Staff of the 3rd Latgale Brigade of the National Guard, Lt. Col. Oskars Purmalis, acknowledged that the exercise had provided valuable insights into the necessary additions to the plan for action in the event of a military threat or war.

"The lessons learned from [such exercises] show that joint training of military and civilian structures significantly improves the understanding of the role of each organization in comprehensive national defense, where one of the goals is to strengthen cooperation between state institutions, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and citizens," said the NBS release.

Meanwhile, on Friday, February 23, at the Rothko Museum in Daugavpils, Minister of Defense Andris Sprūds will open the Latgale regional seminar on comprehensive national defense in order to promote public involvement in national defense, according to the Ministry of Defense.  

Representatives and experts of the Ministry of Defense and the National Armed Forces will inform those present about the current security challenges in the region and the new concept of National Defense. Also on the agenda will be the strengthening and development of the combat capabilities of the National Armed Forces, the role and involvement of the National Guard in the Latgale region, as well as the strengthening of cyber security, the lessons learned from the Ukrainian war for Latvia and the development of civil society.

In addition, representatives of the defense industry will discuss with the participants of the seminar how to recognize different types of hybrid threats and get involved in national defense, as well as play out scenarios for various crisis situations in overcoming national threats that citizens, municipalities and the state may face.

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