RIGA, April 23. /TASS/. The expulsion of a Russian diplomat from Latvia will most negatively affect the development of relations between the two countries, Russian Embassy in Riga said in its statement Friday.
"We have to state that Latvia’s unfriendly actions, related to April 23, 2021, declaration of a Russian diplomat persona non grata, will most negatively affect the development of Russian-Latvian relations. Meanwhile, we would like to underscore that this was an initiative of the Republic of Latvia; therefore the responsibility for this openly anti-Russian step rests with the Latvian side. Naturally, Russia’s reciprocal move will come shortly," the Embassy said.
Earlier on Friday, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics announced that Latvia expels one Russian diplomat in a move of solidarity with the Czech Republic. According to the local media, the Latvian Foreign Ministry declared Russian Embassy’s military attache persona non grata. Simultaneously, authorities of Lithuania and Estonia announced their own decisions to expel Russian diplomats.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS that Moscow prepares measures reciprocal. According to the spokeswoman, employees of these countries’ embassies can already start thinking who will have to leave Russia.
The relations between Russia and the Czech Republic deteriorated sharply after the Czech authorities claimed that new details emerged regarding the 2014 explosions at arms deports in Vrbetice. According to the Czech Republic, Russian intelligence agencies were involved in this incident. As a result, Prague expelled 18 Russian Embassy employees, whom it called Russian intelligence officers.
Russia expressed its decisive protest and expelled 20 Czech embassy employees in a reciprocal move.