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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Eases Latvia's Fears Over Bases

President Boris Yeltsin, trying to end a rumbling row with Latvia, said on Wednesday that Russia had no plans to build military bases on the territory of the small Baltic country.

Earlier this month he issued an order that mistakenly said Russia would be setting up a new military base in Latvia. The three Baltic states demanded he apologize.

"I underline we did not intend and do not intend to create military bases on Latvian territory," Yeltsin said.

The two sides initialed an agreement March 15 under which Russia would maintain control over the Skrunda air defense tracking station in Latvia for four years in return for the withdrawal of former Soviet troops.

Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis, however, said Tuesday his country could not accept key sections of the treaty.

"In its present form this treaty is not acceptable to me as president or to the great majority of the Latvian people," Ulmanis said.

There are up to 20,000 ex-Soviet troops in Latvia and neighboring Estonia. Moscow says both republics have adopted laws which discriminate against their large Russian-speaking minorities.

(Reuters, AP)