Russian Foreign Ministry complains about checks on aid

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The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday condemned checks by the Latvian security services on Latvian citizens engaged in a collection of claimed 'humanitarian' aid in Latvia for people in war-torn eastern Ukraine - the region in which the Russian government says it is not involved.

In response to a question from unnamed 'Russian media' on the Ministry's website, asking what he thought of Latvian law enforcement investigating the aid due to be sent exclusively to rebel-controlled areas, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said it was "another obscene campaign of intimidation" by Latvia against its own people.

The aim of checking up on those collecting aid to be distributed not by traditional non-partisan agencies such as the Red Cross, but by pro-Kremlin organizations was to punish those who "disagree with the official line of Riga on the unconditional whitewashing of the crimes of the Kyiv authorities," Lukashevich said in the tub-thumping house style of his Ministry.

Latvia's law enforcement agencies were clearly motivated by a political agenda, Lukashevich said, though he neglected to say whether Russian security services were ever guilty of displaying political partiality. 

In mid-January, the Latvian Security Police raided the offices of GVD Baltija, which had been collecting donations. Police also searched the homes of the NGO's founder Stanislavs Bukains and two other activists.

The Security Police told the BNS newswire that the searches were conducted as part of a criminal probe into public incitement to terrorism, recruiting people for terrorist acts, as well as the illegal purchase, possession and carrying of firearms.

Russia has itself sent several convoys of humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine in huge convoys of military vehicles driven by former and current military personnel.

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