Latvia, along with Lithuania and Estonia, is at the junction of the geopolitical interests of the United States (representing NATO) and Russia. In fact Latvia has turned into a buffer zone. This position became especially acute in the time of current crisis and on the eve of the Russian-Belarusian exercise “Zapad-2017.”
Whose signal is stronger?
In response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine the NATO leadership deploys more troops and equipment in the Baltic countries, increases the intensity and scale of operational combat training and expands its military infrastructure, saying it is “a strong signal to the Kremlin.” In its turn, Moscow deploys Iskanders in the Kaliningrad region, recreates the 1st Tank Army, creates three new divisions, conducts large-scale exercises in Belarus on the border with Latvia and Lithuania, emphasizing that this is a strong signal to NATO to stop expanding eastward.
Only a lazy politician in the Baltic States has not yet spoken out about the Russian threat and the possible occupation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia according to the scenario of the exercises.
For example Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics at a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Baltic States, the Nordic countries and the United Kingdom in London said that during Zapad-2017 Moscow would work out the scenario of using nuclear weapons.
The same idea expressed the deputy of the Seimas of Lithuania, member of the Committee for National Security and Defense Laurynas Kasčiūnas in his article on the news portal “Lietuvos žinios.”
Lithuanian politician Kasčiūnas assumes that “Russia will carry out pre-emptive strikes on the infrastructure and NATO bases in Lithuania during Zapad-2017 military exercise, threatening Lithuanian population.
However, despite some absurdity of these statements, it is necessary to agree with the experts and politicians that the geographical coordinates of NATO facilities in the Baltic States will be used to guide missiles in case of Russian preemptive strike.
According to the publicly available information, the first targets will be:
- in Latvia - Riga (NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence), Lielvārde (Lielvārde Air Base), Adazi (NATO’s multinational battle group led by Canada);
- in Lithuania - Vilnius (NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence), Rukla (NATO’s multinational battle group troops led by Germany), Šiauliai (Šiauliai Air Base), Karmëlava (Baltic Combined Control and Reporting Center), Mumaičiai (US Military Storage Site);
- in Estonia - Tallinn (NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence), the Baltic seaport of Paldiski, Tapa (Military base), Ämari (Ämari Air Base).
That is, cities along with all population will be wiped off the face of the earth within the first ten minutes of a hypothetical conflict.
According to the results of population census as of August 1, 2017, Latvia’s population is 1,935,800 people. In Riga live 658,640 inhabitants, in Lielvarde region - 10,388 inhabitants, in Adazi region - 10,027 inhabitants. Totally, thanks to NATO, 679,055 citizens of Latvia 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of age, gender and nationality, are under the gun of Russia. And they consist 35% of the total population!
And if you believe Edgars Rinkevičs, in case of using nuclear weapons, the picture will be even sadder.
Since gaining independence, Latvia’s population has been continuously shrinking and aging, both through natural loss and emigration. How do we preserve the nation’s gene pool? In case of the worst scenario, Latvians will simply disappear as a nation…
Perhaps the mayor of Ventspils, Aivars Lembergs, was right, stating in an interview with LTV (Latvijai un Ventspilij) that “the North Atlantic Alliance is in fact a business project, but Latvian economy is not involved in it. Only cafes, restaurants and prostitutes gain profit from the presence of NATO troops in Latvia.”