Public urged to be cautious traveling outside EU, NATO member states

The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is warning that not only people mentioned on Russia's reported 'wanted list' but by anyone from Latvia considering going outside EU and NATO member states to third countries should consider their situation carefully.

MFA spokeswoman Diāna Eglīte said: “Before visiting such countries, including in transit, we recommend assessing how close the country's relations with Russia are and the legal cooperation of a particular country with Russia and, of course, the level of protection of human rights in that country is also an important aspect.

“Therefore, in this case, we reiterate our call for an assessment of the need to go outside the EU and NATO Member States. We encourage people to register in the consular registry so that they are informed where our people are and can contact and provide assistance if necessary.”

Contact information for consular assistance in emergencies can also be accessed on the website of the MFA.

The fact that the risks of the persons included in the lists should also be taken into account by the general public when considering going outside the EU and NATO was also emphasized by the head of the Saeima National Security Committee Ainārs Latkovskis (New Unity).

“I can totally see it. First, before Russia's occupation of Crimea, individual scientists and journalists received visa refusals to enter Russia. No normal person is going there now. Then there is the next stage – not denied entry, but announcing in international search. I can assure you that both representatives of the executive power and officials have always been warned that they may face problems.”

According to Latkovskis, those politicians who have clearly expressed their support for Ukraine and opposed Russian aggression could not be surprised when appearing on Russian-made lists. 

Meanwhile, President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs said at a press conference after meeting with Prime Minister Evika Siliņa (New Unity) that the list of people wanted by Russia was “neither unexpected nor surprising.”

The President said that at the end of 2022, when he was still Foreign Minister, MFA had already warned Saeima deputies and local governments that such incidents could occur when any of the existing or former deputies, officials, could be subjected to some form of Russian provocations in connection with decisions taken in 2022.

At the same time, the President said it was unacceptable for Russia to target officials from independent countries in this way.

“It just shows that the Russian Federation will continue to do what we have already warned and spoken about many times – intimidate, threaten, cause various kinds of inconvenience,” the President said. “We're not going to let ourselves be bullied in any way, but it's nothing new.”

It is worth the additional assessment whether the full database has been unveiled, as this is not official information but obtained through journalism.

“I accept that even if people do not find themselves in this information but have participated in the decision-making, they are also in search,” Rinkēvičs said.

He, too, called for consultations with MFA if it is planned to travel outside the European Union and NATO Member States.

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