Latvia and Lithuania declare expulsion of Russian diplomats

Latvia expels a Russian diplomat in solidarity with the Czech Republic. Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said this on Friday, April 23.

“As a sign of solidarity with our Czech allies and because of the violation of the Vienna Convention, Latvia has decided to expel the Russian diplomat. Latvia will not tolerate subversive activities on its territory, as well as on the territory of its partners and allies,” he wrote on Twitter.

Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania announced the expulsion of two employees of the Russian embassy from solidarity.

On the eve, Prime Minister of Slovakia, Eduard Heger, stated that the country expelled three employees of the Russian embassy. He explained this decision as “a reaction to recent events in the geopolitical sphere” and solidarity with the Czech Republic.

Relations between the two countries became tense after Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced on April 17 that Russian special services were suspected of involvement in an explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetica in 2014. On the same day, the Czech Republic decided to expel 18 Russian diplomats.

Moscow retaliated by declaring 20 employees of the Czech embassy in Russia persona non grata. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova flatly denied the accusations, calling the fact that Prague did not publish a report on the explosion-proof of a lie. Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the reaction of the Russian side stronger than expected.

April 20, the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group (Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary) expressed solidarity with the latest actions taken by the Czech authorities against Russia, it became known the day before. The foreign ministers stressed that they condemn all actions that threaten the security of sovereign countries and their citizens.