Krāslava remembers Poles who fought for Latvia’s freedom

To commemorate 95 years since Latgale was freed from the last of the Red Army forces in a decisive battle in Krāslava with Polish soldiers helping the Latvians gain their freedom in full by 1920, the Minister of Defense, representatives of the Embassy of Poland and local residents of Krāslava gathered at the Catholic Cemetery Wednesday, reported Latgale Regional Television.

The fighting lasted from January 3 through February 1 and the Poles played a significant role in the clearing out of the Russian Communists from Latgale’s deepest hinterlands.

“We in fact owe a great thanks to the Polish people in particular for the freeing of Krāslava,” said Defense Minsiter Raimonds Vējonis, “because they were the first ones to enter town.”

 “Unfortunately our neighbor, Russia has started during the past year its unplanned military activities in Ukraine, and really, Ukraine is quite close to Latvia,” the minister went on to say.

“In my view this has prompted us to think as never before about our security measures and activities here in Latvia, especially here in Latgale on the border with Russia,” he concluded.

Despite recent rumors of pro-Russian activities in the Kraslava district, the local council chairman denied any cause for alarm due to the misunderstanding, vouching for the national loyalty of local residents.

“We have a stable situation. For decades we’ve been used to various nationalities living together in this region, of course things get a little heated around the parliamentary election time,” he said.

As the minster stressed, it’s important now to strengthen the National Armed Forces and work toward better cooperation with NATO allies. No less important is working with school-age youth on their civic identity, he added.

 

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