MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. Russia has banned entry to Riga Mayor Martins Stakis after the incident in which Riga authorities replaced Russia’s national flag with the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee during the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.
"In the current difficult socio-economic situation facing Latvia, the Riga mayor should better think about the development of trade-economic ties with Russian regions, as his predecessors did successfully, instead of engaging in political hooliganism," Zakharova said. She explained that this would be of more benefit to those whom he served, rather than simply scoring "Russo-phobic political points" for himself.
Now, it will be more difficult for the mayor to develop trade and economic contacts with Russia, since he is on the list of the people banned from entering the country, she said in reply to a journalist.
Moscow goes on the premise that the mayor of Riga should know "the rule of respect for state symbols that is generally accepted in the world", the diplomat added.
Local authorities in Riga replaced the country’s national flag in the streets of Riga with the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), during the event hosted by Latvia from May 21 to June 6.
The national flag of Russia, which had been flying among the flags of other participating teams in the championship along the streets of the Latvian capital of Riga and on the square near the hotel accommodating the players, was replaced with ROC flags. The Russian ice hockey team is currently banned from playing under the national flag and to the tune of the national anthem.