25 Jan 2023 12:18

Latvian embassy to Russia to continue operation - ambassador

RIGA. Jan 25 (BNS/Interfax) - The Latvian embassy to Russia is continuing to operate although the level of diplomatic relations has been downgraded, Latvian Ambassador to Russia Maris Maris Riekstins told Latvian radio.

In his words, the charge d'affaires will be supervising the embassy's work from the end of February and will be performing the same duties as the ambassador.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said on January 23 that Latvia decided to lower the level of its diplomatic representation in Russia and as of February 24 will recall its Ambassador Maris Riekstins from Moscow. Later on the same day, the Latvian Foreign Ministry said that Russian Ambassador in Riga Mikhail Vanin should leave the country before February 24.

The Russian ambassador was invited to the Foreign Ministry on Monday and was informed of Latvia's decision to downgrade its diplomatic relations with Russia to the level of charge d'affaires.

In its turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the arguments behind the Latvian leadership's decision to downgrade diplomatic relations with Russia as unsubstantiated, adding that Moscow will respond harshly to such hostile acts.

The Latvian authorities, "acting in line with 'Baltic solidarity', are downgrading the level of diplomatic relations with Russia and have demanded that the Russian ambassador leave Riga before February 24," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday. Latvia also plans to recall its ambassador from Moscow by this date.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that Moscow is downgrading its diplomatic relations with Estonia, whose ambassador should leave Russia on February 7.