Russia and Estonia expel ambassadors amid ‘destroyed’ relations | Russia–Ukraine War

Russian envoys were ordered to leave after Moscow said it was downgrading diplomatic ties with Tallinn.

Russia and Estonia on Monday expelled ambassadors from each other’s countries in a tit-for-tat move, saying their diplomatic missions would be headed by charges d’affaires as relations between the countries crumbled about Ukraine.

In a show of solidarity with its Baltic neighbour, Latvia announced that it would also downgrade its diplomatic relations with Moscow from February 24, the date which marks the first anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre and ordered him to leave the country by February 7, the first time it has expelled an ambassador from a European Union country since start of the invasion of Ukraine.

The statement released by the ministry said that Estonia’s diplomatic representation will now be downgraded to a Chargé d’Affaires who heads the country’s EU mission in Moscow.

“Estonian leaders have deliberately destroyed the full range of relations with Russia,” the ministry said, citing the Baltic nation’s “total Russophobia” following Tallinn’s recent decision to drastically reduce the staff of the Russian embassy. .

The move was taken in retaliation for Estonia’s “new hostile step”, the ministry added.

In response, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said the Russian ambassador would leave, in accordance with the “principle of parity”.

In a January 11 statement, Reinsalu outlined plans to ease relations with Russia “to the absolute minimum.”

Estonia is a staunch ally of Ukraine and has called on Western countries to send tanks to Kyiv to counter Moscow’s offensive. In October, its parliament adopted a declaration declaring Russia a “terrorist regime”.

The Baltic country was once part of the Soviet Union and has had rocky relations with Russia for years.

Russia ordered the closure of the Tallinn consulate in St Petersburg in April.

Leave a Comment