Latvia Report



Latvia’s contribution to preventing and managing external crises and conflicts consists of providing political support and/or development and humanitarian aid to certain countries in addition to participating in military and civilian operations and missions.
Latvia’s most notable efforts in terms of external political engagement in crises and conflict situations have been providing assistance to Georgia and Ukraine following their respective conflicts with Russia. Countries in the EU’s Eastern Partnership (including the aforementioned Georgia and Ukraine) and in Central Asia have been priority areas of Latvia’s development policy, along with areas where Latvian troops and civilian experts are deployed. Such assistance, though limited, has been provided in various spheres. The development aid, along with political support and other activities, has helped Latvia to maintain a decent level of visibility in both Ukraine and Georgia as well as in Central Asia.
Another instrument of engagement is Latvia’s participation in military operations abroad. To date, the highest number of troops has been sent to operations led by NATO and the US: the Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Kosovo Force (KFOR); the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (National Armed Forces of Latvia 2019). Latvia’s current military operations include: the EU-led operations NAVFOR ATALANTA, EUNAVFOR MED Sophia and EUTM MALI; the UN-led operation MINUSMA (also in Mali); and the NATO-led operation Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan (which currently has the largest contingent of Latvian troops, or 42). The current number of troops on operations – 63 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia 2019b) – is significantly lower than it used to be, down from more than 300 in the 2004–2012 period (National Armed Forces of Latvia 2019).
Latvia also contributes its experts to civilian missions. At present, 16 Latvian experts have been contributed to the EU-led operations EUMM Georgia and EUAM Ukraine as well as to the OSCE-led SMM Ukraine (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia 2019b). However, the pool of experienced and qualified experts who can be sent abroad is small, and they are also needed at home, though the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is striving to increase the current number (Official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2019).
Latvia has also contributed to other missions and operations. For example, Latvia’s border guards have participated in operations of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) aimed at supporting the protection of the EU’s southern external border (cf., e.g. State Border Guard of Latvia 2010).
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