A new cold war is already on, and the West has made a mistake in being unprepared for such a situation, former British ambassador to Latvia Ian Bond said in an interview to lsm.lv.
Ian Bond
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

He believes that there is an intense propaganda war taking place right now, while Russia's most popular media channels, especially the Perviy Baltiyskiy Kanal (First Baltic Channel) television, have huge advantages in Latvia in comparison to local TV.

Bond believes that Western leaders had made a mistake long before the current crisis, failing to realize that when Russian President Vladimir Putin called the collapse of the Soviet Union the "greatest catastrophe of the 20th century", he actually meant it. The Western leaders were very wrong when they said that this statement was addressed only to the people of Russia who felt nostalgia for the Soviet times, Bond said.

The European Union should have realized the seriousness of the situation already in the summer of 2013, when Russia imposed several limitations on Ukrainian exports to Russia. It was at that time that Ukraine started to make progress toward signing the Association Agreement with the EU. Ignoring these facts was a blunder, the expert said.

When asked whether Western leaders are aware of the threats faced by Latvia as a country neighbouring Russia, Bond said that during the past six months, Latvia has welcomed more foreign officials than in a longer period of time before that, including a number of British ministers.

Bond approves of Latvia's decision to increase defence spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product. It confirms that Latvia treats its security seriously enough, and it should ensure allies' help for Latvia if need be.

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