Despite the instructions of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on security, students and representatives of the Riga Children’s radio and television academy Academy KidsTV went to the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk and interviewed Aliaksandr Lukashenka, Tvnet reports.
The Academy states that it is a «wonderful children’s competition involving 23 countries,» so the organization sees no reason or fundamental cultural differences why they should not go to Belarus, noting that they have just returned from Spain, Lithuania, and are planning to go to Macedonia soon.
«There are a lot of different children’s activities there, we had a lot of fun. We went to take pictures, practice interviews in different languages. Mostly our children speak English,» the representatives of the children’s organization said.
According to a pro-Lukashenka telegram channel, the academy itself asked him for an interview.
«We are sure that given this situation in the world, it will be a positive development in public relations,» the authors of the channel quote a letter of the Riga organization.
The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would ask the responsible authorities to assess the trip of Academy KidsTV to the festival in Belarus.
«We will ask the appropriate authorities to review the actions of Academy KidsTV. The blatant disregard of the MFA travel safety advice and participation in the infocar program is unacceptable and must be stopped,» Edgars Rinkevics, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote on Twitter.
Vērsīsimies atbildīgajās institūcijās, lūdzot izvērtēt “Academy KidsTV" rīcību. Klaji ignorējot @Arlietas ceļošanas drošības ieteikumus un piedaloties infokarā, šādu organizāciju darbība ir nepieņemama un ir pārtraucama https://t.co/pRE5JB2st2
— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) July 15, 2022
The State Security Service reported that as part of its mandate, it monitors the activities of various organizations in Latvia, assessing whether their activities pose a potential threat to national security.
The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that there are significant risks when Latvian citizens visit Belarus and has repeatedly urged them not to do so. In addition, the invitation to Latvian citizens to leave both Belarus and Russia remains in force.
The ministry stressed that the Lukashenka regime continues to support Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and is subject to serious international sanctions.
The ministry noted that intelligence services of both Latvia and other NATO countries have publicly warned about intelligence and recruitment activities of Russian and Belarusian special services in relation to citizens of neighboring countries.
Academy KidsTV was registered in 2010. Its beneficiaries are Yury Bukharov, Kristina Naumenko and Russian citizen Nadezhda Bukharova.