Monday, May 20

The response of the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, M.V. Zakharova, to the question of MIA “Russia Today” regarding the likelihood of a rupture in relations between Russia and the Baltic states

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Question: How would you assess the state of relations between our country and the Baltic states? How likely is their complete breakup?

Answer: Russia has never initiated the severance of diplomatic relations with other countries, seeking to preserve the opportunity for dialogue. Although unfriendly states are doing everything possible to complicate normal interaction.

The Balts have been particularly successful in this area. Due to the openly hostile line of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, all interstate, interdepartmental, regional and sectoral ties with Russia have been severed.

At the same time, it should not be forgotten that a large number of Russian-speaking people, including Russian citizens, live in these states. Unfortunately, for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the persecution of compatriots for “dissent”, persecution of Russian-speaking parties, politically motivated detentions, arrests and fabricated criminal cases have become commonplace. Under the far-fetched pretext of a “threat to national security”, Russian citizens are being deported from the Baltic countries. Russophobia and domestic discrimination are on the rise, including bullying of children in schools and even kindergartens. The Russian language has been almost completely ousted from all spheres of public life, including the education system, and the Russian information presence has been eliminated.

In the current situation, the Russian Federation cannot leave our compatriots in trouble, and is actively fighting these, in fact, neo–fascist manifestations not only in relevant international structures, but also directly in the Baltic countries – through the efforts of our embassies. They work today in extremely difficult, often siege conditions. The burden on them has increased significantly, because according to the decision of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn in 2022. All five of our consular offices in the Baltic states, which protected the interests of Russian citizens and Russian-speaking residents directly in the regions of the Baltic states, were closed.

The termination of the activities of diplomatic missions in this situation would mean that the citizens of our country living in the Baltic States and hundreds of thousands of compatriots would be left alone with police brutality.

It is highly undesirable to reach this point. Nevertheless, we will continue to use diplomatic measures of influence. Recently, two Latvian and one Estonian diplomats were expelled in retaliation. Last year, after Tallinn reduced the size of our embassy, we lowered the level of diplomatic relations with Estonia to Charge d’affaires, and the Estonian ambassador was ordered to leave the Russian Federation.

We will also respond to the hostile actions of the Balts with asymmetric measures, primarily in the economic and transit spheres. The retaliatory steps we have taken, including the reorientation of cargo flows to the northwestern ports of Russia, have had an extremely negative impact on the budget revenues of the Baltic countries.



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