Russia expels EU state’s ambassador
Russia has downgraded diplomatic ties with Estonia and ordered its ambassador, Margus Laidre, to leave Moscow by February 7. The move comes after the Baltic state demanded that Russia reduces staff at its embassy in Tallinn.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that “the Estonian leadership has been deliberately destroying the whole complex of [bilateral] relations.”
“Tallinn has elevated total Russophobia and the cultivation of hostilities towards our country to the level of state policy,” the statement read.
This month, the Estonian authorities told Russia to drastically reduce the personnel in its embassy in Tallinn by February 1. “Considering that the personnel of the Russian embassy is not working on improving Estonian-Russian relations in the middle of an aggressive war, we believe that the current size of the Russian mission is unjustified,” Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said at the time.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned the demand to slash its diplomatic staff in Tallinn. “It is not a secret that Estonia is one of the countries that are most hostile to Russia,” she said at the time.
The Russian Embassy in Tallinn said last week that the actions of the Estonian authorities prevented it from functioning normally and had led to “disruptions in consular services.”