Russian senior diplomat dubs Latvia’s defense spending as “payment for NATO occupation”

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MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. Latvia’s defense spending of about 2% of its GDP is in fact “payment for occupation” by NATO forces, including the United States, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS on Saturday commenting on the Latvian foreign ministry’s statement on the 75th anniversary of Riga’s liberation from Nazis by the Red Army.

On Friday, the Latvian Foreign Ministry slammed the fireworks display scheduled for October 13 in Moscow to mark Riga’s liberation. The statement says, “for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the renewal of freedom and independence took place not on 13 October 1945, but about fifty years later, taking into account that the Red Army marching into Latvia meant nothing else other than a renewal of occupation.”

“Had Latvia’s Foreign Ministry valued freedom, it would have not encouraged deployment of foreign military contingents in their country. Not only do they welcome the deployment of NATO forces and US troops in Latvia, they are also stepping up payments to 2% of GDP for hosting them,” she said. “Taking into consideration that Riga does not have a voice in NATO, it could be dubbed as a payment for occupation.”

The diplomat has added that by encouraging and greenlighting NATO forces’ deployment, Latvia has totally lost its sovereignty.

“Back in the Soviet times industry and science were shooting up in Latvia, the republic was ruled by its own leadership and did not lack anything to transition to an independent state, but throughout the years of independence its economic, military and humanitarian sovereignty has been absolutely lost,” Zakharova said.

Latvia is one of the NATO members that increased their defense spending to 2% of their GDP in conformity with the 2014 agreements. Moreover, most Latvian politicians, including the president, insist that the country should keep on beefing up its military budget.


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