Russia's consulates to be closed in Latvia, staff expelled

Latvia ramped up its reaction to Russian outrages in Ukraine on April 5 by announcing the closure of two Russian government offices in Latvia and the expulsion of their 13 staff.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia took a decision to revoke its consent to the operations of the Consulates General of the Russian Federation in Daugavpils and Liepāja in the Republic of Latvia, thereby closing the two Russian consular posts. The diplomatic staff of those Consulates General are declared personae non grata in Latvia," said an announcement from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"The decision was taken in solidarity with Ukraine in its fight against the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression and war started by Russia. Latvia, repeatedly and in the strongest possible terms, condemns the aggression by the Russian Federation and its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

"The international community has received extensive reports of murder, atrocities and war crimes committed by Russian forces against peaceful civilians and of the Russian military deliberately targeting civilian property and infrastructure in the occupied regions of Ukraine," the statement said.

"The illegitimate invasion by the Russian Federation and war crimes committed by its troops are in a clear violation of the international commitments and obligations of the Russian Federation. Those who have taken, implemented and upheld the decisions concerning military aggression and crimes in Ukraine must assume full responsibility," it said.

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Latvia, Mikhail Vanin, was informed of the decision. The work of the Consulates General of the Russian Federation in Latvia will not be permitted beyond April 30, which is also the deadline for staff to leave Latvian territory.

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