What to do not to turn the military training into a trauma for the country citizens?

Foto: LETA Autors: Ieva Leiniša

It is already the second week when in Latvia a massive military training exercise
Namejs-2021 is being held. During the exercise operations in the circumstances of
hybrid warfare were practiced at the end of August and beginning of September,
while a scenario of a conventional military threat is played out in the second half of
September. Exercises are being held in large cities, including Riga, Daugavpils,
Jelgava and Rezekne.

We are not going to discuss the necessity as such to hold such exercises, although its idea is based upon a false assumption about hybrid threats, which relevance has not been confirmed in actual life in the country. But if the military department believes that it is still impossible to do without exercises in urban conditions, then they should be held so that they could cause minimal disturbance to civilians. The events that occured in Riga last week when people in army uniform were shooting in the immediate vicinity of civilians, including children, affected the psychological wellbeing of our city residents.

We are confident that the organizers of the training might have completely eliminated that the armed military personnel and civilians would run into one another during the military training. It would have been enough to just separate the area where the training was being held with some temporary barriers which would prevent outsiders to enter it. Besides, it was necessary to organize paths to people’s houses to those who live there. Each and every local resident should have been informed individually about the terms for movement in the area where the training is being held.

We are calling on the Ministry of Defense to do their work on errors, to minimize shooting in settlements, to establish contacts with residents who can potentially suffer from noise and streets blocking, and, last but not the least, to discontinue the practice to hold military exercises in cities streets. Specially designed polygons should be the only site where such trainings can be permitted.

We remind that the Namejs-2021 military exercizes are scheduled to last until October 3. The residents of Daugavgriva where the military are planning to train in shooting between September 14 and 16 should be especially cautious.