"The information at the disposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia indicates that the Russian Federation (RF) may have taken actions within the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) to target present and former Latvian officials who have participated in taking decisions aimed at condemning the RF’s aggression against Ukraine and reducing the influence of the RF on EU Member States," said a release from the MFA.
"[At the] End of last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided assistance to a Latvian national whose detention the RF authorities had demanded during his visit to one of the CIS countries. According to the information available to the Foreign Ministry, this demand was not issued in accordance with generally accepted international practice and was politically motivated. Thanks to prompt action by the Latvian Foreign Service and the constructive cooperation of the particular CIS state, the Latvian national successfully returned to Latvia without further delay," said the statement. The identity of the individual involved was not disclosed, however according to Latvian Television he is former government minister and former Saeima deputy Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis.
Dombrovskis, an economist and academic by training, had gone to the Academy of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, as teaching staff. Dombrovskis paid tribute to the work of the MFA on social media, without specifically detailing what had happened to him.
"The activities of our ambassadors and foreign service are often not visible and known to the general public. But they move mountains! I am your fan forever," he wrote.
Latvijas hokejisti un basketbolisti nav vienīgie, kas spējīgi gāzt kalnus. Mūsu vēstnieku un ārlietu dienestu darbība plašai sabiedrībai bieži nav redzama un zināma. Bet viņi gāž kalnus!@Arlietas: esmu Jūsu fans uz mūžu.— Vj.Dombrovskis (@VjDombrovskis) October 2, 2023
The MFA added that was carrying out an in-depth analysis of the particular case, but already assumed that such measures on the part of the RF may be directed at not only Latvian officials, but also other present and former officials of EU Member States.
"It cannot be excluded that such requests are issued to not only CIS countries, but also other countries that Russia has good cooperation with," the MFA said, adding that it will discuss the case with the EU and other international organisations in order to prevent further illegal, politically motivated actions by the Russian authorities against EU nationals.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded Latvian nationals to choose their travel destinations carefully, taking into account the historical ties of the countries and their cooperation with Russia, as well as the position of countries regarding Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.