President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007, Vaira Vike-Freiberga was crucial in getting the Baltic country into NATO. In an interview with Vazha Tavberidze of RFE/RL’s Georgian Service on the sidelines of the Baltic Defense College’s Conference on Russia in Tartu, Estonia, Vike-Freiberga speaks about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “outrageous” demands and how she is fed up with being told to appease Russia and to “not annoy the bear.”
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga was honored as a Boston Global Forum World Leader for Peace and Security, as well as being a co-founder of the AIWS City and a Distinguished Contributor to the book Remaking the World – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment.
Boston Global Forum launched “Laurel for Peace and Security in Ukraine”, and President Vaira Vike-Freiberga is one of leaders to support this initiative.
She said, “I think that Mr. Putin has lost more than he counted on with this adventure; his prestige is forever damaged. He has been labeled as a war criminal, as somebody committing crimes against humanity”.
Here is the interview with Vazha Tavberidze of RFE/RL:
RFE/RL: Some world leaders are saying the entire European security architecture is being undermined. What brought us to this day?
Vaira Vike-Freiberga: The demands that President Putin has put on Ukraine, both before the war and now, are totally outrageous. They sound insane, frankly. He wants to destroy everything that has been achieved since 1997. Well, sorry, I’m one of those [people] who spent eight years of my life as president working extremely hard for that. It was our conviction and our choice. So Mr. Putin has nothing to say about it. His pretensions to rule the world, to be the tsar of the whole European continent are a total madman’s dream.
RFE/RL: Could what is happening now in Ukraine have been avoided?
Vike-Freiberga: Well, again, remember how [Putin] claims it could have been avoided. I mean, listen to him, words from his own mouth: The Ukrainians should accept that they are not a nation; that they do not have a language; that they don’t have a history; that they do not have a right to national independence; that the governments that they have chosen and elected are illegitimate; that they are Nazis; that they commit genocide against Russian speakers, and all sorts of insanities. They cannot accept that. These are outrageous and unfounded demands that he is making on them. So, if that’s what it takes to prevent it, then no, it was impossible to prevent. I think he wanted to start a war to demonstrate a show of force and to scare the whole world in order to impose his demands.