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Nicolas de Chamfort
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Opinion: Baltic residents have cooled down towards Russian-Ukrainian conflict

Mārtiņš Kaprāns/twitter.com/@Mkaprans
Ever since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula five years ago it seems a ‘cooling process’ has begun among residents of Baltic States in relation to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, said University of Latvia researcher Mārtiņš Kaprāns in an interview to LNT programme Rīta Panorāma on Friday, 15 March.

The researcher stressed that residents have not only cooled in relation to this but have also accepted the status quo. The opinion regarding western sanctions has stabilized as well – residents believe they should be kept. The general attitude towards NATO presence in Baltic States has also stabilized, explained Kaprāns.

The number of categorical stances has reduced in society and people have generally accepted ‘the new reality’, he said. The researcher also said he is cautious in regards to whether or not people now understand Ukraine’s situation more. Nevertheless, he said it is clear that people who actively follow political developments stick with a clear anti-Kremlin position in regards to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

When asked what helps people form their opinions, Kaprāns said there is not just the media. He said inherited beliefs also play a major role.

The researcher also stressed that fear has reduced considerably among Baltic residents since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

As it is known, Ukraine, Baltic States or the European Union do not recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. The international community has imposed severe sanctions against Russia for annexing Crime. Additionally, Russia has been excluded from multiple international cooperation formats.

Latvia’s position in regards to March 2014 events in Crimea was detailed in Foreign Ministry’s statement published on the day the referendum for joining Russia was held in Crimea: «Latvia does not recognise the legitimacy of the so-called referendum taking place in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on joining the Russian Federation. The referendum has been organised in a clear violation of the national, namely, Ukrainian Constitution and takes place in the illegitimate presence of foreign – Russian – troops. When preparing for the referendum, comprehensive and many-sided information was not disseminated; quite on the contrary – the Ukrainian mass media were blocked in the territory of the republic.»


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