Latvian officials warned about Russian intentions while abroad

Latvia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on December 6 cautioned officials abroad to be wary of Russia's latest shady international intentions. 

"According to publicly available information, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has initiated criminal cases and inspections regarding the law passed by the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament), “On the Prohibition of Exhibiting Items Glorifying the Soviet and Nazi Regimes and Their Dismantling in the Territory of the Republic of Latvia”, as well as decisions taken by local authorities in relation to the enforcement of the said law," the Ministry said.

"The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially informed Russia that its efforts of exercising extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction must be regarded as intervention in the domestic affairs of Latvia. Those attempts are at variance with the Charter of the United Nations. Latvia categorically objects to Russia’s attempts to exercise its national criminal jurisdiction in the territory of another state. Russia’s legislation is not binding on Latvia as a sovereign and independent state. Measures taken by Latvia are in compliance with international law and the current international situation," it added.

The Foreign Ministry called on public officials with any kind of link to the issue, including those who are no longer holding positions or elected posts, to "carefully consider their need to travel to non-EU and non-NATO countries." 

The Ministry advises anyone who is considering a travel abroad, including for transit purposes, to evaluate how close the relations and legal cooperation are between the respective country and Russia, as well as the level of human rights protection in that country.

Essentially this boils down to a warning that Russia might try to manipulate international law enforcement to take action against Latvian officials.

When travel abroad is essential, the Foreign Ministry recommends registering with the Consular Register on the latvija.lv portal, getting acquainted with the travel warning for the country of destination on the Foreign Ministry’s website, and obtaining contact information for the Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department and Latvia’s diplomatic mission, where such exists in the respective foreign country.

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