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Pabriks calls not resisting Soviet Army in 1940 "huge mistake"

Artis Pabriks. Photo: LETA.
 In an interview with LETA, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks expressed his view that Latvia is capable of standing against any aggressor as long as the nation's people have the motivation to fight for their country.

''Former Latvian President Karlis Ulmanis made a mistake not resisting the Soviet Army during WWII,'' Pabriks said.

Asked how long the Latvian Army could hold out in case of an armed conflict, until NATO reinforcements arrive, Pabriks answered that Latvia will be capable of withstanding any aggressor as long as ''we have the motivation to fight for our country.'' The minister did not mention if defense plans have set an exact number of days the country's armed forces would be able to hold on against an invading force.

''We will be able to resist any aggressor as long as the motivation to fight for our country remains. We will fight as long as the idea of our own independent country stays alive. With this idea, no nation can be conquered. Just look at Afghanistan,'' the minister emphasized.

Pabriks believes that the biggest mistake made by Ulmanis in 1939/1940 was allowing the Soviet Army to occupy Latvia unopposed, even though motivation to resist was very high at the time.

''At the time, Ulmanis, who was an authoritarian, not a democratic leader, allowed a strategic mistake, and I hope that such a mistake will never be repeated. Latvia should most certainly have resisted, even though the battles would have been bloody. If we had resisted, we would not be forced to keep explaining our history, as we are doing at the moment. In the end, despite not resisting the occupying forces, Latvia lost the lives of tens of thousands of its residents anyway,'' Pabriks added.

Speaking about the modern-day world, Pabriks said that he believes the security situation is worsening at the moment.

He said that challenges are increasing due to new conventional threats in combination with trans-national threats. Trans-national threats are not linked with specific countries, but with terrorism and cyber attacks.

The defense minister said that tensions in Asia are on the rise, but the biggest at the moment is in the Middle East, as well as in North Africa.
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