Ukrainian foreign ministry downplays significance of pro-Kremlin Latvian mayor
У МЗС України заявили, що заяви Андрейса Елксніньша не відображають офіційної позиції дружньої Латвії (Photo:Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine/Facebook)
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has described the mayor of the Latvian city of Daugavpils, Andrejs Elksniņš, as a “marginal figure” after he made scandalous statements about Crimea and the atrocities of the Russian invaders in Bucha.
Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko wrote in post on Facebook on Nov. 7 that Elksniņš was justifying Russia's crimes in Ukraine.
However, the mayor’s statements do not reflect the official position of Ukraine-friendly Latvia, Nikolenko added.
“It is no surprise that his political party ended up on the sidelines of politics, according to the results of the last elections to the Latvian Sejm,” Nikolenko said.
“Fortunately, the statements of this marginal figure do not reflect either the official position of Latvia, which is friendly to us, or the views of the absolute majority of Latvians, who not only sincerely sympathize, but also actively help Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.”
Elksniņš, the mayor of the second largest city of Latvia, said on Nov. 6 said that Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea belongs to Russia, adding that he does not recognize the Russian Federation as an aggressor and believes that there will be no winners in the war.
He also stated that not only Russia, but also Ukraine and the United States are responsible for the atrocities the Russian army carried out against civilians in the Kyiv suburban town of Bucha.
Elksniņš is a representative of the social-democratic party Saskaņa (Consent), which traditionally had significant support among Russian-speaking residents of Latvia but that failed to achieve the necessary 5% of votes to gain seat in the Latvian parliament, the Sejm, in the elections in the fall of 2022.
After the Russian troops retreated from Kyiv Oblast, it became known that the Russian army had committed murderous atrocities in the Kyiv suburbs of Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel, which took lives of hundreds of people.
The bodies of civilians tortured and killed by the Russians were found in these towns, and along the highway to the neighboring oblast center of Zhytomyr to the west of the capital.
Dmytro Kuleba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said that the Russian army had deliberately murdered civilians in Bucha.
Bodies of two tortured men found near Kyiv
The Verkhovna Rada declared on April 14 that Russia and its army had committed acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people.
As of Nov. 1, a total of 1,367 bodies of civilians murdered by invading Russian forces have been found in Kyiv Oblast in the wake of its liberation.
In September, the police of Kyiv Oblast reported that 422 bodies of civilians killed by the Russians had been found in Bucha.
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