Latvian security situation has not deteriorated, say authorities

Latvia's security situation has not deteriorated following the Wagner rebellion in Russia and there is no direct threat to Latvia, said Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and National Armed Forces Commander Leonīds Kalniņš in an interview with Latvian Television broadcast “Morning panorama” on June 26.

“I want to reassure Latvian society - the security situation is unchanged, Latvia's security situation has not deteriorated,” said Kalniņš, adding that last weekend's events in Russia were focused on its “internal center” and did not affect Latvia's security.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs also emphasized: “There is no direct threat or risk to Latvia, there is no direct threat to Latvia's security.”

Rinkēvičs also acknowledged that there are too many uncertainties about the military rebellion. Its impact on the processes in Russia and the security of its neighbors could also be seen in the coming weeks. Regardless, Latvia needs to do three home tasks, said Rinkēvičs: first of all, the eastern border must be strengthened, not only the fence must be erected, but also video surveillance should be provided. Secondly, military infrastructure needs to be developed, including the establishment of a base in Sēlija. Thirdly, investment in Latvia's security should be made by strengthening internal affairs, defense and security structures with financial and human resources.

“Nothing will change for the better in the coming years. Whatever the development scenario in Russia, we must consider the situation to be difficult. We have to be vigilant,” said Rinkēvičs.

The commander of the NBS Leonīds Kalniņš said that a specific security plan has long been developed in Latvia, according to which the responsible services have been working for some time. There is no need for any change at the moment, nor have the border guards requested the support of the NBS.

Kalniņš said that after the Wagner rebellion, it was obvious there was some discontent in Russian society and parts of the army, with the situation in the country and the continuing hostilities in Ukraine.

He also stressed that the reaction of Russian leader Vladimir Putin had been “very inactive, indecisive and that it had undermined his authority, […] it was a huge blow to him.”

The rebellion also highlighted a fundamental mistake that cannot be made in the war, namely that there should be a single leadership in the military hierarchy, which was not the case when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense Jānis Garisons said in an interview with Latvian Radio that Prigozhin's activities in Belarus are “important for us” because the refugee crisis on the Latvian-Belarusian border is still not over.

In his opinion, we are now seeing the beginning of new processes in Russia, which was quite predictable because several private armies had been set up.

“The power struggle is beginning now, there are two scenarios, either Putin is consolidating power and getting rid of any opposition, including the right extremists, or this will lead to a change of power and internal fighting in Russia,” Garisons said.

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