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The President of Latvia Reflects on NATO’s Future and the Threat of Russia

His Excellency Edgars Rinkēvičs, President of the Republic of Latvia, addressed an audience of RUSI members and the media, outlining NATO’s changing role in European security and the importance of containing an aggressive and expansionist Russia.

In his address and during the subsequent Q and A session, President Rinkēvičs discussed how, along with other NATO member countries, Latvia has reinforced its deterrence and defence in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The President also reflected on the evolving priorities for NATO. He observed that effective implementation of defence plans, increased investment in the defence industry, fair burden sharing and a long-term strategy of containment towards Russia are now priorities for the Alliance.

During his speech, President Rinkēvičs said:

We are now facing what I believe will be the reality for years, if not decades to come: an aggressive Russia in Europe; a government suppressing all freedoms; and a President dreaming of the restoration of a Russian empire.

He continued:

There are deep problems when it comes to [Western] support for Ukraine… we need a strategy which says that we will support Ukraine until its victory. In our assistance to Ukraine, we are failing; all the decisions to provide necessary weapons are belated.

On NATO in Europe, he said:

If we as Europeans want to be a serious partner for the United States, we now finally need to get very serious about what we do. As we increase defence spending... we must invest in the proper capabilities.

His Excellency Edgars Rinkēvičs, President of the Republic of Latvia

About RUSI

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank. Our mission is to inform, influence and enhance public debate to help build a safer and more stable world.

A unique institution, founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington, RUSI embodies nearly two centuries of forward thinking, free discussion, and careful reflection on international affairs and defence and security matters.

RUSI is a British institution but operates with an international perspective. Offices in Nairobi and Brussels reinforce our global reach. Over the years, we have amassed an outstanding reputation for quality and objectivity. Our heritage, location at the heart of Whitehall, and extensive networks inside and outside government, give RUSI a unique insight and authority.

You can find out more about our work and research here.

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