RIGA, April 23. /TASS/. Latvia will expel a Russian diplomat in solidarity with the Czech Republic, the country’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said in a statement on Twitter.
"In solidarity with our Czech allies and due to the violations of the Vienna Convention, Latvia has decided to expel a Russian diplomat. Latvia will not tolerate subversive activities on its soil or that of its partners and allies," the tweet reads.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry, in turn, said in a statement that the decision "has been made in solidarity with the Government of the Czech Republic taking into account illegal activities conducted by Russia’s intelligence services in the Czech Republic as well as evaluating the activities of the particular Russian Embassy diplomat and violations perpetrated in Latvia." "The decision is also based on consultations taking place with EU and NATO allies, as well as information provided by Latvia’s competent institutions," the ministry added.
"Latvia is interested in building a relationship with Russia on the basis of mutual respect, international law and the principles laid down in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Russia’s actions have borne evidence for an extended period of time of systemic violations of such principles and of undermining and destabilizing the security situation," the statement said.
On April 17, the Czech authorities announced the expulsion of 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague, who, according to the Czech authorities, are "officers of Russia’s SVR and GRU intelligence agencies." Prague claimed that newly discovered circumstances related to the 2014 ammunition depot blast in the Czech village of Vrbetice was the reason. The Russian Foreign Ministry protested against the move and declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Moscow personae non grata.