Latvia doesn't allow its citizens to serve in Ukrainian army

03:40, 11 November 2016
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Latvia's parliament, Saeima, on November 10 voted down an initiative that could have allowed Latvian citizens to lawfully be enlisted in the Ukrainian army.

REUTERS

The motion was put forth by lawmakers of Latvia's National Union Edvins Snore and Janis Dombrava, who submitted corresponding proposals for second reading of amendments to the National Security Law, Latvian news portal lsm.lv reported.

Addressing the parliament, Snore said that in summer that country's Defense Ministry proposed legislative changes providing that non-nationals should be prohibited from serving in a foreign army, while citizens can only be enlisted in the armed forces of the European Union or NATO member states. The measure was thought to prevent a situation when Latvian citizens would go to Russia to participate in military camps.

Read alsoCroatian volunteers ‘fighting for Ukrainian army in Donbas’Several citizens of Latvia have joined the Ukrainian armed forces amid the Donbas crisis, Snore said, and not to outlaw their activity, he suggested an amendment to the law that would let citizens of Latvia serve in the army of NATO partner states, namely Ukraine, Montenegro or Bosnia.

However, the Latvian parliament's defense commission rejected the proposal. Many MPs from the parliamentary coalition expressed the opinion that in such a case, Latvian soldiers should wear Latvian military uniform and obey the Latvian command.

Read alsoNATO chief gives details about battalions on eastern flank, Black Sea regionMP Alexei Loskunov from the Latvian Party Vienotiba (Unity) said that if the Latvian citizens had been allowed to serve in a foreign army before the Maidan events in Ukraine, they could potentially have participated in Berkut riot police's shooting at protesters in Kyiv.

The Latvian lawmakers are to consider the amendments to the National Security Law at third and final reading.

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