Russia aims to restore empire of tsars’ influence: President Duda in Latvia

Today the aspiration of Russia’s rulers, headed by Vladimir Putin, is in fact to restore the influence of the empire of the tsars, Polish President Andrzej Duda said in Riga during a discussion on current security challenges in the region.

A meeting between Duda, his Latvian counterpart Egils Levits and representatives of the expert community, the media and non-governmental organisations, was held in Riga on Thursday before noon.

During his speech, President Duda pointed out that everything that has happened over the past year has caused decisive changes in many people's perception of the world, primarily from the perspective of security and the future.

He pointed out that the Baltic states, which have similar historical experiences to Poland in the last century, warned the world that communism in Russia, as well as the country’s imperialistic ambitions, have not disappeared.

“We are just now seeing… the outburst of this Russian imperial complex, which results in aggression against our part of Europe,” he said. he added. “Today the aspiration of Russia's rulers headed by Vladimir Putin is actually to restore the influence of the empire of the tsars.”

“We oppose the war, we absolutely do not want this war - we [Duda and Levits] will do everything in our power to make sure that this war does not take place in our countries. We will make every effort to do so,” the Polish head of state stressed.

He also referred to calls not to rebuild the Iron Curtain. “I am prepared for the Iron Curtain to be rebuilt if I have to deal across the eastern border with an aggressive state that wants to kill its neighbours, that wants to take away their land, that wants to take away their freedom,” he said.

“I am the one who is ready to build the Iron Curtain up to the clouds, just to make sure they [Russians] stay away from us,” Duda emphasised.

During his visit to Latvia, which commenced on Tuesday, the President also met with the country’s Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš and parliament’s chairman Edvards Smiltēns. The politicians discussed, among other things, cooperation and security in the region.