Russia expels Estonian envoy

Published January 23rd, 2023 - 10:01 GMT
Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow.
People cross a street in front of the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow on January 18, 2023. (Photo by Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP)

ALBAWABA - Russia has expelled Estonia’s ambassador and will be downgrading relations with the European nation in the wake of increased tension with Tallinn over Moscow's war in Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre was ordered to leave Moscow by Feb. 7 and that his country's representation will be downgraded to a charge d'affaires,  the Associated Press (AP) reported.

"In recent years, the Estonian leadership has purposefully destroyed the entire range of relations with Russia. Total Russophobia, the cultivation of hostility towards our country have been elevated by Tallinn to the rank of state policy," the Foreign Ministry claimed.

The ministry said that the move was in retaliation for Estonia’s "new unfriendly step to radically reduce the size of the Russian Embassy in Tallinn."

Earlier in January, the Estonian Foreign Ministry ordered Russia to reduce the number of its embassy staff to eight diplomats and 15 administrative, technical and service staff members. It said the move was aimed at reaching "parity in embassy staff" by Feb. 1.

Last week, Estonia also announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine worth €113 million ($123 million).

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