Prosecution sought against Latvian resident for attempting to join Ukraine conflict

The Security Police are seeking the prosecution of Latvia’s non-citizen Artjoms Skripniks for an attempt to illegally participate in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, LETA was told at the Security Police May 16.

On May 7, the Security Police initiated the prosecution of the non-citizen for an attempt to join a criminal organization (group) consisting of at least members and formed with the intention to commit particularly grave crimes against the state and for an attempt to illegally participate in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

What does 'non-citizen' mean?

On October 15, 1991 the Supreme Council (the interim parliament) granted citizenship to Latvians who were citizens during the inter-war period, and their offspring.

As a result, a third of Latvian residents who were largely Soviet-era immigrants became non-citizens with an ambiguous legal status. During the last 25 years, 150,000 non-citizens have been granted citizenship under the naturalization program. About 250,000 are still non-citizens and don't enjoy certain rights, like the right to vote or hold certain public offices.

Read more about the historical context HERE

During the criminal investigation, which the Security Police started in November 2017, it was established that the person in question attempted to join a criminal military-trained organization based in eastern Ukraine. This organization had been established with the aim to commit particularly grave crimes against the state by supporting attempts to undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The man from Latvia had tried to join the organization to illegally participate in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Representatives of the Security Police said that the man had already been probed by the Security Police before and had faced prosecution for illegal participation in an armed conflict in a foreign country.

As reported, the Security Police have already started five criminal procedures against nine persons for participation in the Ukraine conflict and fighting alongside pro-Kremlin separatist forces.

Skipniks, a non-citizen from Daugavpils, is so far the only person detained in Latvia for involvement in the Ukraine conflict. A court of first instance acquitted Skipniks, but the prosecutor lodged a protest over his acquittal. Last November, Skripniks was detained again for a repeated attempt to get involved in the Ukraine conflict.

The other residents of Latvia fighting in eastern Ukraine are still wanted by the Latvian law enforcement authorities.

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