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Russia pledges to ‘react harshly’ to Latvia’s decision to downgrade diplomatic ties

The Russian Foreign Ministry promised on Tuesday to "react harshly" to Latvia's decision to downgrade the level of diplomatic ties with Moscow.

Latvian authorities demanded on Tuesday the departure of the Russian ambassador from Riga by Feb. 24, while Latvia will recall its ambassador from Moscow by the same date.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry explained its move by solidarity with Estonia, with which Russia had downgraded its relations on Monday to the level of charge d’affaires, in response to Tallinn’s recent decision to reduce the size of the Russian Embassy in the country’s capital.

"It is obvious that this decision has long been matured in Riga. The arguments, now presented by the Latvian side, are untenable and far-fetched," the Russian diplomatic service said in a statement on its website.

It added that Riga's "notorious solidarity" with other Baltic countries manifests itself in "Russophobia of the Latvian leadership and hostility to everything connected with Russia."

"There is also a desire to please their most rabid 'friends' outside the country," the ministry stressed.

Moscow is not surprised by Riga's "unfriendly steps," which are "the logical result of the policy of the Latvian ruling elite on the consistent destruction of bilateral relations," the diplomatic service also said.

"The authorities clearly do not care about the consequences for the country, and its residents. We will, of course, react harshly to any such hostile actions," it said.

Source: Anadolu Agency