Ukraine news: ‘Putin must lose,’ says Latvian PM
As the world marks the first anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine, NATO allies are considering what more they can do to help the Ukrainians.
In an exclusive Canadian interview on CTV News Channel’s Power Play with Vasi Kapelos, Krishjanis Kalish says that while these discussions are underway, the end goal of the war is clear.
“A year later, everyone sent weapons… So the perceptions and positions of the Western allies are evolving. It will take some time to come to a conclusion,” Kalish said.
“But I think the conclusion at one level is very clear: Ukraine has to win this war, Putin has to lose. It is not permissible to be
This is a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity.
Vassy Kapelos: When this war started a year ago, did you think the Prime Minister would still be at it a year later?
Krišjānis Kariņš: “We didn’t know. But what is clear is that a year ago, Putin showed the world what he really meant: imperialism, murder at worst. … Fighting in Ukraine, fighting civilians, civilian infrastructure, bringing chaos to the country, trying to wipe it out.
“The only positive aspect of this story is that the entire West has banded together very tightly to support Ukraine and repel this aggression. And Canada’s role is to strengthen NATO’s presence here in Latvia. I am very grateful to you for leading the NATO presence and for your direct contribution to help Ukraine.”
CAPEROS: And I… I have a few quick questions about that operation in your country, but I’ll get back to what you said about Vladimir Putin. He said Russia would “pay greater attention to building up its nuclear arsenal on land, at sea and in the air.” How seriously are you taking that threat?
Kalisz: “Well, I think we have to take everything seriously. Russia is a serious threat not only to Ukraine in Europe, but to peace and security all over the world. has also sounded its saber, and that means more than that, who knows. I think the message Putin delivered in his speech the other day is that he has no intention of backing down. Have to.”
CAPEROS: You are more familiar with the Russian way, the Putin way, than many of the Western allies, given your geographic location and experience. Were you at all surprised by President Putin’s reaction to NATO’s growing power and growing ties among allies? Is there anything Putin did that surprised you?
Kalish: “Unfortunately, no. Let us be happy, perhaps not as a surprise, but as a welcome recognition, to remember how united we all were in the face of his attack. and this is a government, basically a dictator, a thug country, all about staying in power, and when things go wrong at home, it seeks outsiders to rally to the cause of nationalism. are resorting to war.
“The propaganda going on at home is that Russia is basically under attack and is fighting a similar war… Fascism and World War II against Ukraine and the West are the result of NATO’s All of us, including, I think, represent this fascism, but it is meaningless.Although from our point of view, it is very important within Russia.
“And Putin, there appears to be no sign of his grip on power weakening. But he does. He understands power. He understands power. This is the language he understands. It’s power, not diplomacy. The strengthening of NATO’s position on the flank of the United States is a very clear signal to Putin.
“And of course, helping Ukraine is absolutely necessary for all of us, because in Ukraine they fight and die for the very values we live for: freedom, democracy and the rule of law. because I am.”
Kapelos: I would like to ask about the nature of that support. This guy has definitely evolved over the years. In particular, we know that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is very focused on procuring fighter jets, some sort of military aircraft, to counter what is expected to be an attack from Russia this spring. . For example, I spoke to Poland’s Ambassador to Canada this week. He says that Poland is willing to supply supplies…This must be a concerted effort between the allies, from the Polish point of view. Is there any expectation that the allies will develop into that position? Or does it seem like a deviation, too much deviation from where they want to go?
Kalisz: “I don’t necessarily see it as a starting point. Over the past year, I remember the European Council meeting on the night of February 24 when the attacks began. Individuals should not be sanctioned, let alone any kind of discussion of solidarity in sending arms.
“A year later, everyone sent weapons…that’s the evolution of the perceptions and positions of the Western allies. I think it’s important that the Western allies move in lockstep and they all come to the same conclusion. It may take some time, but I think the conclusion is very clear on one level. Ukraine has to win this war, Putin has to lose. The heart of Europe And next to all European countries, the rules-based system cannot simply be unraveled.
“The type of weapons, I think, is secondary to the fact that solidarity is involved….we were providing weapons before the attacks on February 24…so we were in full force.” Military aid, and we have a tremendous ongoing surge of grassroots aid of all kinds. Important.”
CAPEROS: Speaking of all-ins and NATO: I’d like to hear about your country-based operations led by Canada. When you visited this country last year, the Prime Minister promised to essentially double the contingent of combat groups there, brigades in size. I believe a discussion has started about how many soldiers each country will eventually send. Where are those discussions? And when do you think all this will be finalized?
Kalisz: “First of all I have to say that Canada’s leadership, Trudau’s leadership is great and I think it is very much appreciated in Latvia. has stepped up, with more soldiers and importantly more equipment, which means our capabilities are greatly enhanced…and decisions are being made all together.
“And under Canadian leadership, I have to say that I have great confidence in the leadership of all NATO allies, especially Canada. Because I don’t understand that you have made up a real combat unit out of ten different NATO member states. This has actually never been done before. It was built together. It took five years to be fully operational, and Canada has done it. once. I’m sure they can take it to the next level.
Kapelos: Many countries, including this one, are facing problems with the size of the military here… pressure on the military, retirees, not enough recruits. Is there any concern that Canada will not be able to increase its troop ratio as part of this operation? Was that communicated to you at any time?
Kalisz; “No, we don’t have this concern because the number of soldiers is important for a brigade to function, but it is just as important, and from one aspect, this brigade has Do not forget that it is an ability that will be
“I mean, I don’t know 5,000 soldiers who only have rifles. move towards., Canada is one of Latvia’s 10 NATO members, and it doesn’t matter if all members rise proportionally, as Canada already has I think.
“And I don’t see it as a problem at all.”
CAPEROS: Prime Minister, I’ll leave it in that note. Thank you very much for spending your precious time today.
Kalish: “Thank you very much.”