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On 14 February 2024, the Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., of the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Oleg Zykov, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia in order to receive his explanations concerning a publicly accessible list of former and current public officials of Latvia against whom politically motivated charges had been brought by Russia.

During the meeting, the Director of the First Bilateral Relations Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uldis Mikuts, expressed protest in the strongest terms, condemning Russia’s practice of exercising its national jurisdiction beyond its territory and applying it in respect of Latvia. Uldis Mikuts underlined that Russia’s efforts to exercise extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction must be regarded as intervention in the domestic affairs of Latvia and therefore being at variance with the Charter of the United Nations. Oleg Zykov did not deny the existence of such criminal cases and lists.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in contact with the law enforcement authorities of Latvia to verify the publicly announced information and reduce eventual risks to Latvian nationals. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also working with the European Union partners to address the matter at the global level.

As early as in December 2022, when it was publicly reported that the Investigative Committee of Russia had initiated criminal cases and inspections regarding the Law on the Prohibition of Exhibiting Items Glorifying the Soviet and Nazi Regimes and Their Dismantling in the Territory of the Republic of Latvia passed by the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament), and its enforcement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially responded to the Russian side, expressing a strong condemnation.

The Ministry has also repeatedly informed Latvian public authorities about this situation. The Ministry reiterates its call for a thorough assessment of the need to travel abroad, especially outside the EU and NATO. If a possible visit is considered to a country, including in transit, the Ministry advises an assessment of the close relations and legal cooperation of the specific country with Russia, as well as the level of protection of human rights in that country. If, however, it is necessary to travel outside Latvia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends travellers to register with the Consular Register via the portal, to familiarise themselves with any travel warnings concerning the specific country on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and make sure they have the contact information for the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the mission of Latvia, if any, in the relevant foreign country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to sustain, with EU and NATO partners and with other countries in the framework of international organisations, the issue of Russia’s politically motivated cases and extraterritorial targeting of the citizens of Latvia and other countries.