Ladies and gentlemen!
There are pivotal moments in life of every nation when the eyes of the whole world seem to be upon them. In times of peace, peoples or countries can live for decades without being noticed.
For nations and countries time can pass calmly, but sometimes it races forward like a high-speed train. When many events are compressed in a short time span, everything changes in the blink of an eye and the world turns its attention to a nation which used to live its life quietly. That is when it becomes a global hotspot.
Berlin was in the global spotlight when the Berlin Wall fell. Poland received global attention during the Solidarność protests, and the Baltics, including my own country, Latvia, were closely observed by the world as we regained our independence from the soviet occupation regime in a non-violent resistance movement called the Singing Revolution. Many of you sitting here tonight must surely remember those days. Quite often, a country commands global attention as it goes through tough moments in its history – moments when national will, unity, commitment to the ideals of freedom and human dignity are put to the test. But in moments like these, hope always keeps on glimmering ahead – such moments are full of hope.
Today everyone’s eyes are fixed on Ukraine in admiration for your courage, your aspiration for freedom, your desire to preserve the spirit of the Ukrainian land and the sanctity of its borders. These are hard times for the Ukrainian people. Evil has raised its head and is ravaging Ukraine. However, there always comes a time when the aggressor is held accountable for his wrongdoings.
History attests that in desperate times, a passive response only strengthens the aggressor’s sense of impunity. Europe failed to unite itself on the eve of World War II, but now Europe, together with the United States, has a chance to act decisively and respond appropriately. The statute of limitations does not apply to violations of human life and dignity, and it is tragic to see such violations taking place in today’s Europe. However, the culprits – those who committed these violations and their political masters – will eventually receive justice.
Heroes have sacrificed their lives and their health; innocent civilians have died, lost their shelter and their beloved place under the sun; people have been sharing bread and compassion amongst themselves. Ukrainians have once again demonstrated their strength and nobility. However, not all hope is lost. Latvia is with you.
Tonight we are proud to present to you a little bit of Latvia. We will have almost two hours together with the Latvian Radio Choir and Simfonietta Riga orchestra.
Latvia will stand by you.
We’ll be keeping our eyes on Ukraine.
Glory to Ukraine!
Glory to its heroes!