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Lawmaker: NATO using Russophobia in Latvia to boost military presence near Russian borders

March 18, 16:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Latvia is turning into a zone of NATO’s increased activity, chairman of Russian State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexey Pushkov says
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Chairman of State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexey Pushkov

Chairman of State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexey Pushkov

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. NATO is using Russophobic tendencies in Latvia in order to turn this country as a platform for the Alliance’s increased activities and build up military presence near Russian borders, chairman of State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexey Pushkov said on Friday.

Latvia is turning into a zone of NATO’s increased activity, Pushkov said when presenting a report on State Duma’s draft address "To parliaments of member countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe." He reminded that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently said that the Alliance will boost its military presence in Latvia.

"In other words, NATO is using Latvia and Russophobic, anti-Russian tendencies demonstrated by the leaders, by the political class of this country, in order to turn in (Latvia) into the zone of increased activity and obvious platform for boosting NATO’s military presence on the border with Russia," Pushkov said.

"I have to state the emergence of some kind of alliance of ultra-nationalists and militarists that aim to use ultra-nationalist sentiment against Russia," the lawmaker noted.

The State Duma is considering a draft address to the parliaments of member countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) urging them to condemn Latvia for attempting to rehabilitate Nazism in connection with the latest march of Latvian veterans of Waffen-SS units. The address says that on March 16 in Riga, the capital of one of EU countries that "claims to share the ideals, goals and principles of UN and OSCE, including in the sphere of fighting against manifestations of neo-Nazism, another march took place of former servicemen of Waffen-SS units that fought against the anti-Hitler coalition."

Among participants were not only veterans of Waffen-SS units but also "spiritual heirs from activists of marginal neo-Nazi and nationalist parties and movements of the Baltic States, as well as representatives of Latvian parliamentary parties, which is especially worrisome," the authors of the draft address noted.

The Latvian Legion was a formation of the Waffen-SS during World War II created in 1943 and consisting primarily of ethnic Latvian soldiers. The legion consisted of two divisions. After Latvia stopped being part of the Soviet Union, March 16 for several years remained an official Remembrance Day. However, after a march of SS-men through the center of the Latvian capital caused outrage in Russia and in the West, the decision was made to delete it from the list of commemorative dates.

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