Vitālijs Smirnovs was 28. The family is from Līvāni municipality, where loved ones, friends, and former service members said goodbye to Vitālijs, who he was and how he would be remembered.
Dāvis Daugelis had known Vitālijs since kindergarten: “He was very kind, always helped when there was a need, and was a very good friend, yes. We had known each other since we were children. We went to kindergarten together and school too.”
A red-and-white red flag was brought with Vitālijs' urn from Ukraine. In Latvia, Vitālijs had stood guard by the Freedom Monument.
Vitālijs had decided that he wanted to help Ukraine right after Russia's full-scale invasion. He left service to travel to Ukraine as a volunteer, saying to his loved ones that "if I don't go to war, then you will have to go to war", said Elmārs Plavinas, a senior expert on military-religious international issues at NBS. "He was also already injured and he came home and got cured and went back. It shows his courage, strength and such perseverance, and selflessness."
Meanwhile, the commander of the National Guard's 35th Infantry Battalion, Jānis Svilpe, said: “I will always remember Vitālijs for his love of his fellow soldiers, his fatherland and his colleagues. And the affirmation of that love is here – he has given his life for us."
"I would like to ask all the people of Latvia not to pause in their support for Ukraine because Ukraine is really fighting for us. And if we don't want to have more and more gravestones and, God forbid, war here as well, then please don't tire in our support for Ukraine and continue this good work,“ Svilpe said.