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Mayor of Latvia’s capital says EU-Russia crisis damages Latvia’s economy

December 26, 2014, 18:30 UTC+3 RIGA
“Latvia has neither initiated nor backed the adoption of sanctions against Russia by the European Union,” Mayor of Latvia’s capital Riga Nils Usakovs said
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Mayor of Latvia’s capital Riga Nils Usakovs

Mayor of Latvia’s capital Riga Nils Usakovs

© ITAR-TASS/Yury Mashkov

RIGA, December 26. /TASS/. Latvia could have raised its voice for a more pragmatic relationship between the European Union and Russia amid Western sanctions, Mayor of Latvia’s capital Riga Nils Usakovs said in an exclusive interview with TASS on Friday.

“Latvia has neither initiated nor backed the adoption of sanctions against Russia by the European Union,” Usakovs said. “Centering on Latvia, there is sense to speak about lost opportunities.”

“Perhaps, we could be more active in calling for more pragmatic relations between the European Union and Russia, especially taking into consideration our own economic interests,” he said.

Usakovs believes the crisis in relations between the EU and Russia is damaging Latvia’s economy.

“We can witness a decline in the tourism sector and in the program of obtaining a green card in return of buying real estate,” he said. “Now we can hear the latest statements from the Russian oil company Transneft that at the beginning of the next year, it is determined to divert hydrocarbon supplies from the ports in Riga and Ventspilse into Russian ports.”

“Sanctions, on the one hand, and the declining ruble, on the other, have affected Latvian exports to Russia,” Usakovs said, adding that a tool of sanctions would not help to get anything from Russia.

“The European Union has a right to ask Russia questions about its role in Ukraine’s conflict and to get answers,” Riga’s mayor said. “However, sanctions are not the tool to achieve anything in relations with Russia. It was clear in the beginning they wouldn't work.”

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