Latvian member of parliament joins foreign fighters in Ukraine

A national flag flutters over the Latvian central bank's headquarters in Riga
A national flag flutters over the Latvian central bank's headquarters in Riga, Latvia February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

VILNIUS, March 8 (Reuters) - Latvian member of parliament Juris Jurass has joined the fight against Russian forces in Ukraine, his party said on Tuesday.

Jurass, 46, heads parliament's Legal Affairs Committee.

"He is in Ukraine. He has joined the fighters for freedom in Ukraine. That was his personal decision, and I fully respect it," Janis Bordans, justice minister and chairman of the New Conservative Party, part of the governing coalition, told Reuters.

Bordans declined to provide more information for safety reasons.

Ukraine has established an "international" legion for people from abroad and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has publicly urged foreigners to fight side-by-side with Ukrainians to show support for his country. read more

Last week, Zelenskiy said that more than 16,000 foreigners had volunteered, without specifying how many had arrived.

Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Alison Williams

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Andrius covers politics and general news in the Baltics - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the three key states along the NATO's eastern flank, the staunchest supporters of Ukraine and the most vocal critics of Russia in NATO and the European Union. He wrote stories on everything from China pressuring German companies to leave Taiwan-supporting Lithuania to Iraqi migrants hiding in the forest at the Belarus border to a farmer burning grain for heat during the energy crisis. Contact: +37068274006.