The Russian Federation Annexed Latvia today in what it called “a great victory for freedom.” The annexation was catalyzed by a television statement by Donald Trump that Latvia hasn’t been paying its fair share in regards to NATO & that the United States wouldn’t defend that country until it paid its dues. After eighty minutes the Russian army entered Latvia & captured Riga & most vital locations within 110 minutes.
The Russian government has long been critical of Latvian independence citing a large minority of almost 500,000 ethnic Russians living in Latvia, almost 200,000 of whom live in statelessness as part of a large group of non-citizens in that country. Russia has also been critical of Latvia’s migration towards western institutions as well as criticizing the fact that Latvian independence reminds the Kremlin they govern less territory than they did before the Yeltsin era.
The Latvian Army was quickly overwhelmed by billions of dollars of airstrikes, drones attacking Latvian military leaders, an intensive cluster bombing campaign, & mobilized Russian army forces entering from the Russian & Belorussian borders and an amphibious assault from the coast. Russian officials made the claim the invasion was necessary based on unreleased intelligence reports that there was an impending pogrom organized against the ethnic Russians.
Following the Russian declaration of victory, a tweet today by Donald Trump stated “Happy Valentine’s Day to Vladamir Putin!” though Sean Spicer contends that Trump sent Putin a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day & the tweet is completely unrelated to the annexation of Latvia. The United Nations & most other world leaders condemned the annexation & Trump’s tweet.
NATO nations are divided on how to move forward with the situation. The White House reiterated that Latvia failed to meet NATO obligations, and this forfeited its membership to the alliance. The remaining Baltic states are requesting reinforcements of troops to be stationed in their nations. Poland contends that all of NATO is under threat, & military action is needed now, despite 3 war games & 5 simulations by Russia last week depicting the nuking of that country. Germany is advocating immediate diplomatic action to resolve the crisis. Turkey contends since the nation no longer exists, there can be no invocation by the NATO charter to defend it. British & French officials are still deciding what positions would be politically popular in their nations.
Reactions of Latvians are unavailable as all social media has been shut down in that country & most internet traffic redirects to a pro-Russian “liberation site”, but preliminary reports indicate the populace has been following the invasion response procedures the ex-government had outlined since the annexation of the Crimea.