Moscow Reminds Latvia of Retaliatory Rights

Russia hinted on Tuesday that it would retaliate after neighboring Latvia expelled a Russian diplomat in an apparent spying case.

Latvia asked the official to leave in the next few days for activities incompatible with his status, diplomatic parlance that usually means the person is suspected of espionage.

"We are now analyzing the circumstances surrounding this unfriendly step and reserve the right to take appropriate retaliatory measures," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement.

"We are perplexed by the Latvian authorities' decision to declare an employee of the Russian Embassy in Riga persona non grata," Kamynin added.

Latvia said the diplomat had been expelled on the basis of information supplied by state security bodies and described him as "a danger to the interests of the Latvian state."

He did not give details of his alleged activities.

Relations between Russia and its tiny, former Soviet neighbor have been soured by allegations of Latvian discrimination against its large Russian-speaking minority, Russia's cutting of oil supplies to Latvia's western oil port and the Baltic state's drive to join NATO.