Vēstniece Ivita Burmistre uzrunā diskusijas dalībniekus
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On 13 June 2024, the Embassy of Latvia to the United Kingdom organised a discussion “War through the eyes of a Latvian journalist”. Participants included TV3 journalist Ieva Vārna and Simon Smith, the former United Kingdom Ambassador to Ukraine and Head of the Ukraine Forum at Chatham House. The discussion was moderated by John Paul Rathbone, Security and Defence Correspondent of the Financial Times.

Addressing the participants, the Ambassador of Latvia to the United Kingdom, Ivita Burmistre, confirmed Latvia’s unwavering support to Ukraine, stressing that Latvia not only provides military support but also extensive humanitarian assistance, and is actively involved in the reconstruction of Chernihiv Oblast. The Ambassador noted that Latvia, in close cooperation with Ukraine and the United Kingdom, provides co-leadership of the drone coalition, which has already been joined by 12 countries.

“We in Latvia personally feel the pain of the Ukrainians and understand the enormous challenges that the Ukrainian people have been facing for a long time,” the Ambassador stressed.

During the discussion, Ieva Vārna shared her experience reporting from the hotspots on the frontline in Ukraine since 2016. The participants also had the unique opportunity to see a video report made during Ieva Vārna’s recent visit to Ukraine in May 2024.

The participants agreed that war journalism is an important tool for informing society, allowing citizens to truly understand and see events first-hand – through the eyes of journalists themselves. Public interest – both in the United Kingdom and globally – in what is happening in Ukraine remains high, as evidenced by both written media and television viewing statistics.

Eduard Fesko, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom, thanked the participants for their work in bringing the war to the attention of the wider public, stressing that media stories not only convince the international community of the need for urgent support but also motivate people not to give up.

The event, organised by the Embassy, was well attended, with participants including members of the broad diplomatic corps accredited in London, as well as representatives of government institutions of the United Kingdom.

The discussion “War through the eyes of a Latvian journalist” was organised as part of a public diplomacy programme in support of the campaign of Latvia’s candidacy for the UN Security Council. The campaign aims to ensure Latvia’s successful election to the 2025 UN Security Council for the period 2026–2027, where Latvia is a first-time candidate for an elected seat. Its motto – Together for Peace and Resilience. A seat in the UN Security Council would be one of Latvia’s most important tools for pursuing and defending its foreign policy interests, and would further expand Latvia’s international cooperation, contributing to world peace and resilience.