Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Latvia

Newsline: Latvia, Estonia expel Russian ambassadors

NATO and EU members Estonia and Latvia told their Russian ambassadors to leave after Moscow said it was downgrading diplomatic relations with Estonia, accusing it of “total Russophobia.” The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had told the Estonian envoy he must leave next month, and both countries would be represented in each other’s capitals by an interim charge d’affaires instead of an ambassador. Estonia responded in kind, telling the Russian envoy to leave by Feb. 7, Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas Reinsalu said. Latvia, in solidarity with Estonia, told its Moscow envoy to leave by Feb. 27, according to a tweet by Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics. Both countries said they are downgrading their diplomatic ties with Russia to charge d’affairs level. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/russia-downgrades-relations-with-nato-member-estonia-expels-envoy-2023-01-23/) Lithuania threw out its Russian envoy in April and downgraded diplomatic representation.

Newsline: Bulgarian, Latvian embassies in Moscow suspend visa processing for Russian citizens

The Latvian Embassy in Moscow announced Friday the suspension for an indefinite period of visa processing for Russian citizens “due to the international situation”. According to the diplomatic mission’s statement, visas will only be issued to those Russians whose entry to the country is related to the funeral of a close relative. (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/latvian-embassy-in-moscow-suspends-visa-processing-for-russian-citizens/ar-AA10l0y2) Bulgaria will stop accepting documents for tourist visas for citizens of Russia, RIA Novosti reported. (https://www.novinite.com/articles/216192/Bulgaria+Suspends+Visas+for+Russians+with+Property+in+Bulgaria+and+for+Tourists+from+Russia) The measure applies to both tourists and property owners in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian consulate in Moscow explained to the Russians that the reason for the suspension of visas was the declaration on August 5 of 14 employees of the diplomatic missions and consular services of Bulgaria in Russia as persona non grata.

Newsline: Latvian embassy in Moscow “attacked”

Latvia’s embassy in Moscow, Russia, came under attack on the evening of May 9 – celebrated in the country as ‘Victory Day’ – according to Latvia’s Foreign Minister. The press secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Gints Jegermanis, told Latvian Radio that nobody was injured in the incident, which took place at around 6 p.m. Moscow time. Between 4 and 5 people appeared at the embassy’s premises in Moscow and set off smoke bombs and flares. One person tried tried to write something to the embassy building, but the militia intervened at this point, Jegermanis said. Latvia will present a diplomatic note to the Russian foreign ministry over the incident, Jegermanis added.


Newsline: Latvian forces simulate hostage-taking at Israeli embassy

Following similar drills in Ukraine and Romania, the Latvian special anti-terrorism police simulated the takeover of the Israeli embassy in Riga by terrorists. In the drill, the special unit acted to free hostages from the embassy’s consular section. Similar exercises have been carried out at the Israeli embassies in Ukraine and Romania. The drill simulated all of the potential stages of the imagined scenario: the taking hostage, the negotiation with the terrorists, breaking into the building and the sounds of explosions and gunfire. Israel’s ambassador to Latvia, Lironne Bar-Sadeh, commented, “Everybody was saved. The cooperation was really excellent.”


Newsline: Latvia’s Foreign Minister Asks US Embassy to Quit Using Russian Language

Latvia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgar Rinkevics has called for the US embassy to stop using Russian language in social media. Rinkevics said he understands that the information should be transmitted in different languages for more people to be able to understand it. However, using both Latvian and Russian languages in one and the same post on Twitter or Facebook “does more harm than good” as it makes it seem like the Baltic state has two official languages. In a 2012 referendum Latvians rejected the option of making Russian the country’s second official language. The minister believes that posts written in two languages “informally legitimize” what the nation had voted against. Rinkevics noted that he doesn’t mind if the same information is transmitted in different languages, if separately. The US embassy responded by promising to make adjustments to its style of communicating via social media. Press-attaché Leslie Goodman said that the embassy wants the information about the US to reach the widest possible audience in Latvia and therefore will continue using Russian, but more carefully.


Newsline: The Embassy of Latvia in Korea is now open

The Embassy of the Republic of Latvia has begun operations in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea. The Embassy will be promoting political and economic dialogue between Latvia and Korea especially in support of Latvian businesses and cooperation with potential Korean investors, thereby facilitating access to third country markets in Asia, according to the Latvian MFA. The Ambassador of Latvia to the Republic of Korea, Normans Penke, resides in Tokyo, Japan, and the Embassy is headed by Chargé d’Affaires Oļegs Iļģis.


Newsline: Switzerland represents Latvia in Kyrgyzstan

From December 1, Kyrgyz citizens and foreign nationals with a residence permit in the Kyrgyz Republic may apply the Swiss Embassy in Bishkek for a Schengen visa for a trip to Latvia, the embassy of the country reported. An application for a national visa must be submitted to the Embassy of Latvia in Astana (Kazakhstan). The Swiss Embassy in Bishkek issues visas to Switzerland, Poland, Slovenia and Estonia.


Newsline: Poland, Latvia Summon Russian Ambassadors

The Polish Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to protest remarks by Russian nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Speaking on state Rossiya 24 television last week, Zhirinovsky said that Poland and the Baltic states would be “wiped out” should a war break out between Russia and the West. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski said the remarks were “scandalous.” He said Zhirinovsky, a lawmaker and the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, “is neither a backbencher nor a private person.” Zhirinovsky is known for his outrageous comments. Latvia’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Russian Ambassador to Latvia Alexander Veshnyakov after a politician in Russia said the Baltics and Poland would be ‘annihilated.’ But Ambassador Veshnyakov said Zhirinovsky’s views did not mirror Russia’s official stance on the issue.