Russia and Estonia each expelled the other country’s ambassador in a succession of reprisals, announcing that their diplomatic delegations would be placed in the hands of a charge d’affairs.
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Estonian ambassador, Margus Laidre, and ordered him to leave the country by February 7.
In its statement, the Ministry of Estonia’s diplomatic representation would be demoted to a charge d’affaires to lead the delegation in Moscow of the European Union member country.
The decision was made in retaliation for the “new hostile measure to drastically reduce the Russian embassy in Tallinn,” the ministry said.
In response, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that the Russian ambassador would also leave by February 7 according to the “principle of parity.”
The Estonian Foreign Ministry earlier this month ordered Russia to reduce the number of employees at its embassy to eight diplomats and 15 administrative, technical and service workers to “achieve embassy staff parity” by February 1.
Estonia has reduced its bilateral relations with Moscow to the “absolute minimum” since the Kremlin sent troops to Ukraine, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in a statement on Jan. 11. “We now set a limit on the number of Russian diplomats working in Estonia to achieve parity. Today’s measure corresponds to the low level of our relations in general, ”he added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that “the Estonian government has deliberately destroyed the full range of relations with Russia.”
“Total Russophobia, fomenting hostility towards our country have been elevated by Tallinn to the rank of state policy,” the statement said.
This story was originally published on January 23, 2023 5:25 am.
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