Latvia's Left Forces Demand Defense Minister's Resignation

"For Human Rights in Integrated Latvia," a parliamentary faction embracing opposition parties, has demanded that Latvian Defense Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis voluntarily resign, otherwise the faction deputies would launch a no-confidence campaign against him. The tension was generated by the minister's statements, in which he called mass protests against the deployment of a radar to monitor Russian and Belarussian air space on the border between Russia and Latvia "a campaign organized by hostile forces." 20,000 residents of the eastern areas in Latvia have signed a document, in which they urge the government and local authorities to prevent the deployment of a three-dimensional NATO radar in the Rezekne Region, 50 km from the border with Russia. In their view, the device will be hazardous for the health of the local population and will worsen Latvia's relations with Russia. The Minister stated that the Rezekne residents actions suit Russia which is "fighting against Latvia's membership in NATO." In an interview with RIA Novosti, Janis Urbanovich, the deputy chairman of the faction "For Human Rights in Integrated Latvia," called the statements by the defense minister "inappropriate, provocative, and irresponsible." The left forces in the Latvian parliament demand that the minister apologize for his words and resign from his position.

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