( dpa ) - In a tit for tat diplomatic move, Russia on Friday expelled an unnamed Latvian diplomat, the Foreign Ministry said.
Russian officials called the Latvian ambassador to Russia Andris Teikmanis and declared an employee of the Latvian embassy in Moscow a "persona non grata" for threatening Russia's national security.
The unnamed person must leave the country within 48 hours, the ministry said in a press release.
The move came in a response to the surprise decision by Latvian authorities on Monday to expel the second secretary of the Russian Embassy in Riga Alexander Rogozin for "activities incompatible with the status of diplomat," the Latvian Foreign Ministry said.
While it expressing regret at Russia's decision, Latvia rejected Russian accusations, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
It would not be the first incident of retaliatory diplomatic expulsion between the two countries. Latvia sent home a Russian diplomat in 2004 for allegedly spying on NATO, Interfax news agency reported.
At that time, Russia responded by expelling the first secretary of the Latvian embassy in Moscow.
But bilateral relations between the small Baltic nation and its former overlord have been warming in recent months. Latvia and Russia signed a border agreement in 2007, establishing the frontier between the two countries for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Russia toned down its criticism of Latvia's policies toward the Russian-speaking population, while Latvia had been slow to criticize Russia's record on human rights and democracy.