MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that Russia would respond harshly to hostile steps by Latvian authorities. On Monday, January 23, the Russian ambassador in Riga, Mikhail Vanin, was summoned to the Latvian Foreign Ministry, where he was notified that the level of diplomatic relations with Russia had been downgraded. Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Russia was downgrading its relations with Estonia in a retaliatory move. TASS FACTBOX editors have inventoried the current state of Russia’s diplomatic relations with other countries.
Countries of the world
Currently, 193 states are members of the UN. Two more states - the Vatican and Palestine - have the status of permanent observers in the UN.
Russia recognizes 197 countries: 195 UN members and permanent observers, as well as 2 partially recognized states - Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Countries who have diplomatic relations with Russia
Currently, Russia has diplomatic relations with 191 states: 187 are UN member states, 2 are permanent observers in the UN (Vatican and Palestine), and 2 are partially recognized states (Abkhazia, South Ossetia).
Russia does not have diplomatic relations with five UN member countries. Diplomatic relations have not been established with Bhutan and the Solomon Islands (negotiations are underway with the latter). Diplomatic relations with three states were terminated on their initiative: Georgia (in 2008), Ukraine (in 2022), and Micronesia (in 2022).
Severing of diplomatic relations
In Russia’s recent history, there have been three cases of the termination of diplomatic relations, all at the initiative of the opposite side.
In September 2008, diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia were interrupted at the initiative of the authorities in Tbilisi. The reason was the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after the armed conflict with Georgia from August 8-12, 2008. At present, the interests of the two countries are represented by sections at the Swiss embassies in Moscow and Tbilisi, which are mainly engaged in consular work, including the issuance of visas. Also, Switzerland acts as an intermediary in organizing contacts and meetings between officials.
In February 2022, Ukraine announced the termination of diplomatic relations with Russia after Russia recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics (currently - constituent territories of Russia) and launched a special military operation in Ukraine. Switzerland offered its mediation in representing the interests of the two parties. However, Moscow refused to consider Switzerland as a diplomatic broker due to its decision to join anti-Russian sanctions.
In February 2022, Micronesia severed diplomatic relations with Russia in support of the Ukrainian authorities, who had called on their partners to abandon diplomatic relations with Russia.
Russia’s diplomatic missions
In most countries, Russia is represented by ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary. In Palestine, there is a representative office (mission) of the Russian Federation at the Palestinian National Authority, led by its chief.
Russia’s ambassadors in 30 countries (Australia, Angola, Benin, Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Ghana, Guinea, Djibouti, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Spain, Italy, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Senegal, Uganda, the Philippines, France, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Jamaica) simultaneously represent the interests of Russia and other states.
Charges d'affaires, downgrading of diplomatic relations
Currently, in two countries - Yemen and Lithuania - Russia is represented by charges d'affaires.
The Russian embassy in Yemen was evacuated in December 2017 due to hostilities in that country and moved to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Russia's interests in Yemen are represented by its charge d'affaires.
In April 2022, Lithuania expelled the Russian ambassador from Vilnius and recalled its ambassador from Moscow. On May 23, 2022, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda signed a decree to downgrade diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Russia.
In January 2023, a decision was made to relegate diplomatic relations between Russia, Estonia and Latvia to charge d'affaires. On January 23, the Russian Foreign Ministry downgraded diplomatic relations with Estonia as a response to an unfriendly decision by the Estonian side to radically reduce the number of personnel at the Russian embassy in Tallinn, and also because of the destruction of the entire system of relations with Moscow. On February 7, the ambassadors of both countries will leave the diplomatic missions. On the same day, January 23, Latvia, in a gesture of solidarity with Estonia, announced it would downgrade diplomatic relations with Russia as of February 24.