Latvian Province Holds Referendum on Joining Estonia (41)
The Courland province of Latvia is to hold a referendum on joining Estonia on Tuesday, April 1, in what the West says is an attempt to annex the Latvian region driven by Estonian imperialistic ambitions.
(This piece was originally published on April Fool's Day.)
Latvian military units have been surrounded and confined to bases by unmarked and heavily armed soldiers, backed up by Pasi armored vehicles with Estonian license plates. Tallinn issued a statement saying they are Livonian self-defense forces. Robinson R44 helicopters and the mine hunter vessel Ugandi have also been spotted near the region.
The soldiers appeared on the streets during a night a few days ago, after a local man of Livonian origin was jailed for drunken and disorderly conduct in Ventspils. Estonian officials have called the imprisonment a politically motivated move against the Livonian minority, a group ethnically close to Estonians.
The Estonian president also voiced concern for the language policies of both Finland and Russia, neighboring countries with ethnic Estonian minorities, at a UN Security Council emergency meeting on Monday.
Western nations and Russia have called on Estonia to withdraw its forces from Latvia, warning of sanctions against top officials and Skype staff.