Moscow orders Latvian ambassador to leave Russia within 2 weeks

The Latvian ambassador to Russia, Maris Riekstins, should leave Russia within two weeks, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday, reports citing Xinhua.

Latvian Charge d'Affaires Dace Rutka was summoned to the ministry in protest over Latvia's decision to lower the level of Russian-Latvian diplomatic relations, the ministry said in a statement.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said on Monday his country recalled its ambassador from Russia and downgraded diplomatic relations with Russia to the level of charge d'affaires as of Feb. 24. Rinkevics said the decision was made in a show of solidarity with its neighbor Estonia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called Latvia's justification of its decision completely unacceptable. It said that the only way the Baltic states had shown solidarity was through their "total Russophobia" and their efforts to promote hostility against Russia. 

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