RIGA – Latvia’s relations with Russia have been complicated for several years already because of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in 2014 and subsequent events like the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia and Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, Foreign Ministry press secretary Janis Bekeris told LETA.

As reported, in a recent interview with the Russian language newspaper Segodnya, Russian Ambassador to Latvia Yevgeny Lukyanov said that relations between Latvia and Russia have not gone through the best times in recent years, and they can hardly be described as satisfactory. The ambassador noted that mutual contacts were further hampered down by the Covid-19 pandemic, due to which there has been a slight slowdown in the bilateral dialogue.

As a result, all important cooperation mechanisms have been suspended, including the bilateral intergovernmental commissions and their working groups, interparliamentary links, and contacts between the two countries at the municipal level. Work on a number of bilateral documents to complement the bilateral framework has also stalled. As an example, the ambassador mentioned the draft agreement on the Russian-Latvian border regime, Lukyanov said in the interview.

The press secretary of the Latvian Foreign Ministry agreed tht the Covid-19 pandemic has indeed affected many processes but said that it did not play the central role in the Latvian-Russian relations. Russia’s rhetoric and interpretation of history are not conducive to the bilateral relations either, Bekeris said, adding that Latvia sticks with the European Union’ s approach to Russia, at the same time implementing sanctions and developing cooperation in areas of mutual importance.

Bekeris said that bilateral work with Russia continues and that the Latvian and Russian heads of the delegations on the border regime met in Moscow on October 13 to discuss the wording of the draft agreement and further work.

“This work has just begun and the agreement is intended to regulate matters like the maintenance and crossing of the state border, business activity in the border area, cooperation of authorized border representatives and settling of border incidents,” the ministry representative said.

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