2023.01.23 12:48

Russia expels Estonian ambassador over ‘unfriendly’ relations 2023.01.23 12:48

Russia is expelling Estonia’s ambassador, and the country’s diplomatic mission will be headed by a charge d’affaires, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. 

Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and ordered to leave the country by February 7, the Associated Press has reported.

The ministry’s statement said that Estonia’s diplomatic representation will be downgraded to the level of charge d’affaires.

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

The Estonian Foreign Ministry earlier this month expelled 13 Russian diplomats and eight technical workers.

According to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, the Baltic country has reduced its bilateral relations with Moscow “to the absolute minimum” since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Now, we are setting a limit to the number of Russian diplomats working in Estonia in order to achieve parity. Today’s step is in correlation with the low point of our relations in general,” he said about the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

On Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that “the Estonian leadership has purposefully destroyed the entire range of relations with Russia”.

Downgrading diplomatic ties to the level of a charge d'affaires ad interim means that Russia will also be recalling its ambassador from Estonia.