War 'close to our borders' warns President

In the traditional Lacplesis Day speech at the Freedom Monument in central Riga Tuesday, President Andris Berzins paid tribute to the sacrifices of Latvia's military and included a strong warning about the renewed threat of conflict.


"The word 'soldier' (karavīrs) includes the concept of 'war' (karš). No nation wants to experience that - the most damaging way there is of resolving human conflict."

"Unfortunately, in our daily lives that word is being said more often and comes ever closer to our borders. Latvia has never tried of planned conquer that which is not ours. But we will stand on our own land, we will be ready to protect it, like eighteen-year-old boys did in the battle of 1919."

"In contrast to the events that took place almost a hundred years ago, today we are not alone. Latvia has for ten years been a member of NATO, our strength is also the strength of our allies. Of that we can be sure," Berzins said.

"My wish for all of us today: that never again Latvian sons will fall in battle for their homeland and that the dark pages of history in the last century will never be repeated."

Later in the day Berzins was due to attend various commemorative events, and the President's Chancellery tweeted a picture of him lighting a candle amongst the crowds at Riga Castle.

 

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