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Latvia's PM to sack environment minister for refusal to stay out of Waffen SS veterans march

A government spokesman says Latvia's environment minister will be fired after he insisted on participating in annual commemorations of Latvian soldiers who fought in Nazi units during World War II.

Einars Cilinskis, of the right-wing National Alliance, announced Friday that he would attend Sunday's events in Riga, ignoring warnings from Prime Minister Lamidota Straujuma.

The prime minister's spokesman, Andis Blinds, told AP that Straujuma must therefore dismiss Cilinskis, the minister of environmental protection and regional development.

Straujuma had called on Cabinet ministers to stay away from the March 16 events, which are expected to prompt counter-protests from members of Latvia's Russian-speaking minority.

Many Latvians consider the Waffen SS veterans as heroes who fought for independence from the Soviet Union. Russians see the march as an attempt to glorify fascism.