Ambassador slams paper's inaccuracy

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Latvia's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Andris Teikmanis, has written to The Times newspaper complaining of a serious inaccuracy in the paper's coverage of Latvia.

In a feature titled "Separatist Europe" published in print and online on September 18, The Times included a vast swathe of Latvian territory on a map depicting "areas seeking independence" from European states.

"I was of the impression that The Times, being a respectable newspaper and covering news for more than two centuries should have a better understanding of sensitivity of issues related to national minorities in Europe," Teikmanis wrote in a withering response to the gaffe.

"Showing two thirds of Latvia's territory as 'Russian speakers area seeking independence' from the rest of Latvia may even sound amusing, however has no historical ground, nor reflects current political situation," Teikmanis wrote, pointing out that in fact 28% of Latvian residents are ethnically Russian and "there is not and never was any separatist movements of ideas."

A recent survey found that 64% of non-Latvians considered themselves patriots for the country, Teikmanis said.

However, it should be pointed out that The Times was reproducing a map produced by the European Free Alliance political grouping, of which Latvia's notoriously pro-Kremlin MEP Tatjana Zdanoka is a prominent member. 

The graphic forming the basis of the article can be viewed here.

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