Defense Ministry dispels false reports over NATO troops in Latvia

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Last week a report was spread over NATO troops being allowed to move freely in Latvia with loaded guns, thereby posing a threat to the public. This is a false report, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

The law amendments mentioned in the reports actually only allow NATO troops to cross the border for self-defense. The proposed law is meant to allow allies help Latvia without undergoing extensive administrative procedures.

The Defense Ministry stresses that NATO troops will never move around Latvia with a loaded weapon on their own initiative, because all allied units only arrive in Latvia at the country's invitation.

Furthermore, the movement of all allied troops in Latvia is coordinated by the Defense Ministry and the National Armed Forces.

The amendments say NATO and EU troops will be allowed to transport ready-to-fire combat vehicles only if the Defense Ministry allows it; furthermore, they will not be allowed to move around with loaded weaponry that can threaten the safety of people in the area.

However the amendments will allow NATO and EU forces move military equipment and weapons across Latvia’s internal border if required by the situation, said the Defense Ministry.

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