Ināra Mūrniece: Latvian military aid to Ukraine reaches 1% of gross domestic product

01/26/2023 - 14:11
International cooperation
In Latvia
Information prepared by
Media Relations Section

"Ukraine must win and Russia must lose – there’s no other solution for lasting peace in Europe. This is the way politics should be today," Defence Minister Ināra Mūrniece stressed during the Saeima foreign policy debate on Thursday, 26 January.

"There is no reason to expect a positive change in Russia's policy at the moment. Russia is preparing for a protracted war and Putin is not about to give up his imperialist aims in Ukraine and other countries. Putin believes that by prolonging the war, Russia will be able to wear down Ukraine and its supporters. We need to prove him wrong and that these expectations are foolish," the Minister stressed.

I. Mūrniece pointed out that NATO has clearly demonstrated its ability to adapt to fundamental security challenges and to take care of its members. In response to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, NATO immediately strengthened deterrence and defence on NATO's Eastern flank.

The Minister also underlined that the US is a strategic ally of Latvia, which last year once again demonstrated its commitment to support and defend Latvia. "The US provides political leadership, financial support for the development of the NAF capabilities and reinforcement of the military presence.”

On the serious threats that remain, the Minister reminded that Russia has once again demonstrated that it is a threat to transatlantic security. This has been recognised by NATO in its new strategic concept.

"I believe that the West must pursue a targeted long-term strategy to contain Russia, otherwise Europe's security will be threatened by new and potentially even bigger wars. Western unity will be critical to ensure maximum long-term political, financial and military support to Ukraine for as long as it is needed," said I. Mūrniece.

The Defence Minister called on the Saeima to take decisive action by supporting the draft law on the State Defence Service, the consideration of which has already started by the Saeima Commission for Defence, Internal Affairs and Prevention of Corruption. "It is in your power to ensure that the National Armed Forces will receive the first volunteers for the state defence service already this summer. Delays in the introduction of the state defence service are unacceptable," the Minister urged the legislators.

She recalled that one of the most important tasks of the Ministry of Defence at the moment is to man the armed forces and to increase the number of reservists. Otherwise, there may be a shortage of trained, skilled soldiers capable of operating the high-quality and modern military equipment that Latvia is also preparing to procure.

The Minister thanked Canada in particular for its role for the NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group and expressed her gratitude to Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Iceland, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and North Macedonia for the fact that its soldiers, together with the National Armed Forces, are protecting the security of the Latvian society.

The Minister of Defence expressed her satisfaction that Latvia was able to provide tangible support to Ukraine in its fight against the Russian-led war. "Latvia was one of the first countries to start delivering military assistance to Ukraine shortly before Russia's full-scale invasion," the Minister stressed.

Latvia is currently preparing a new shipment of military aid to Ukraine, and when it is delivered, our assistance to Ukraine will reach €370 million, or 1% of GDP. Latvia has also trained more than 350 Ukrainian soldiers in recent months. This year, we plan to train around 2000 Ukrainian soldiers.”

At the end of her speech, Ināra Mūrniece stressed that Latvia's interests lay in a world order based on the norms of international law, and wished success in jointly strengthening the security of our country.


Contact information:
Roberts Skraučs
Head of the Media Relations Section
Military Public Affairs Department
Tel.: 67335393