11:17 GMT31 March 2020
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    Latvia Nazi Sympathizers Teach Kindergarten Class

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    Controversy has erupted in Latvia after a nursery school in the capital Riga released video footage in which men wearing the uniform of the Waffen SS are shown teaching a class there, the Vesti Segondya news portal reported on Thursday.

    Controversy has erupted in Latvia after a nursery school in the capital Riga released video footage in which men wearing the uniform of the Waffen SS are shown teaching a class there, the Vesti Segondya news portal reported on Thursday.

    The men, from the Latvian Soldier group, were dressed in "the most beautiful clothes of the Latvian legionnaires" as they introduced the three- and four-year-olds to "the most beautiful weapons of the legionnaires" during the class, reportedly held in March, the Pucite kidergarten said in comments to the video.

    It went on to describe the Latvian Waffen SS veterans as "heroes."

    The footage shows children fumbling with World War Two-era pistols, machine guns and hand-propelled grenades.

    Hundreds of Waffen SS veterans marched in downtown Riga on March 16, in an annual commemoration of the 1944 day, when two Latvian divisions first took up arms against advancing Soviet troops.

    The divisions, formed by the Nazis in 1943 and 1944, comprised some 146,000 Latvians.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the demonstration and expressed oconcern over what it described as the Latvian authorities' attempts to "rewrite history."

    Latvian President Andris Berzins has defended the Latvian SS unit, claiming its members were deserving of "public respect."

    Russia is very sensitive about its WWII victory and its annual May 9 Victory Day see lavish celebrations and military parades on Red Square.

    In a separate incident, stickers appeared in the Ukrainian cities of Poltava and Nikolayev on Wednesday, comparing Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

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