Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Latvia has been in favor of a tough European Union policy towards Russia and Belarus and economic sanctions against the aggressor state.
Nevertheless, traditionally close ties between Latvian companies and Russian and Belarusian partners remain, the Franco-German TV channel Arte reported.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the EU has adopted 12 packages of sanctions against Russia and its ally Belarus. Latvia is in favor of complying with the sanctions, and the country has been living entirely without Russian gas for a year now. As Arte notes, this is a drastic change: before the war, Latvia received more than 90% of its gas from Russia.
Riga has also stopped importing Russian and Belarusian oil, metals, and fertilizers. But some Latvian companies are circumventing the sanctions; their exports to Russia’s neighbors Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia have increased substantially.
Arte argues that these exports likely partially go to the Russian Federation. Once they come to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, or Armenia, they are immediately re-exported and shipped to Russia.
Thus, Latvian goods continue to enter Russia and Belarus by roundabout routes, and European controlling institutions hardly monitor the logistic chains.
Several earlier investigations pointed out that Russia uses Central Asia and Caucasus states to bypass Western economic sanctions.
Thus, the EU and Lithuania in particular need to either scrutinize the trade with the countries caught in sanctions circumvention or apply secondary sanctions against them in order to prevent Russia from acquiring essential parts for weapons production. Fuelling Russia’s war machine means helping it to kill Ukrainians in a the war which has been lasting almost 2 years…