Security police look into pro-Russian group’s goals

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The recently-founded organization GVD Baltija claimed to be continuing its donation-gathering activity on behalf of civilian victims of the violence in Ukraine’s Donbass province amidst a Security Police (DP) investigation into its true motives Wednesday.

Following news that the DP had disbanded a meeting of the group in the Riga neighborhood of Iļģuciems Tuesday evening, on Wednesday the DP recommended that the City Council not permit its requested September 12 meeting at the Esplanade Park downtown. The hint to municipal authorities is grounded on “potential risks to the state constitutional system and the interests of public safety,” said the DP in a press release.

However the DP offered no further comment on the message to the City Council, as its content is labeled ‘classified’.

GVD Baltija leader Staņislavs Bukains denied that his organization was supporting pro-Russian separatists. However, he admitted that the donations and purchases would be delivered to the Russian town of Rostov on the Don, near the Ukrainian border and widely considered to be a logistical staging point for coordinating support to separatist forces.

Despite Riga City Council’s approval of the group’s gatherings so far, the DP is concerned that its use of the flags of Donetsk’s self-proclaimed ‘people’s republic’, as well as that of ‘New Russia’ signal motives that could make it liable for supporting terrorism, DP spokeswoman Kristīne Apse-Krūmiņa told Latvian Radio Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Interior minister Rihards Kozlovskis warned that laws against joining in or even financing terrorist organizations provide in some cases for life imprisonment. He promised on independent television channel LNT news program 900 Sekundes Wednesday that Latvia’s law enforcement authorities would take all necessary actions if it is confirmed that residents of Latvia, citizens or not, have taken up arms or are otherwise actively supporting groups formally declared terrorist organizations.

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