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24 Jan, 2008 11:01

Latvia names Russian diplomat kicked out for 'spying'

Officials in Riga have named the Foreign Office worker expelled from Latvia earlier this week. He's been identified as Second Secretary of the Russian Embassy in Riga, Aleksandr Rogozhin.

Rogozhin left the country on Wednesday and was declared persona non grata by Latvia for “activities incompatible with the diplomatic status”.

A spokesperson for Latvia's Constitution Protection Bureau says the Russian diplomat was endangering Latvia's national security – in simple terms, he was suspected of spying.

The Russian Ambassador to Latvia said relations between the two countries are currently positive and hopes both sides will assume a pragmatic, mutually respectful stance. But Viktor Kaluzhny said he didn't understand why there's so much mystery around this incident.

“Latvian authorities have not given any proof of their accusations. This type of mystery raises a lot of questions in Russia. When we had a similar incident with a British diplomat in Moscow everything was caught on tape and shown to the British government. I think it was objective. So we don't understand why there's so much mystery around this case now,” Viktor Kaluzhny stated.