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Moscow May 9 decision not Latvia's alone, says EC rep

The European Commission's senior representative in Latvia, Ina Steinbuka, said Thursday that a decision on whether President Andris Berzins attends celebrations of 'Victory Day' in Russia on May 9 is not Latvia's to make alone.

Speaking on LNT's morning news show 900 Sekundes, Steinbuka said that as Latvia will be holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union when the controversial event takes place, the criteria for deciding upon attendance or otherwise had changed.

"Latvia has to be very careful because all of Europe – in fact all of the world – is watching what Latvia does. We need to think very carefully and not allow emotions to get in the way," she advised.

It's very important to think carefully and remember that Latvia is representing Europe and all its actions must be seen in line with the European climate. We cannot just act thinking of our own individual interests."

However, Steinbuka failed to say whether the decision should be to attend or not.

May 9 is celebrated in Russia as 'Victory Day' marking the defeat of Nazi Germany.

President Vladimir Putin has invited various national leaders to attend this year's celebration of 70 years since the end of the Second World War including Latvian President Andris Berzins.

In Western countries, Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) is officially on May 8, though it is marked with far less pomp than in Russia, where a massive military parade is the centerpiece.

Many Latvians are unenthusiastic about May 9 as the 'end' of the war brought another 50 years of Soviet occupation.

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