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

Russian envoys are ordered to leave after Moscow said it was deteriorating diplomatic relations with Tallinn.

Russia and Estonia on Monday expelled ambassadors from each other’s countries, saying their diplomatic missions will be led by chargé d’affaires as relations between the countries have sunk to a new low over Ukraine.

In a show of solidarity with its Baltic neighbour, Latvia announced it would also deteriorate diplomatic relations with Moscow from February 24, the date marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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

The ministry’s statement said that from now on Estonia’s diplomatic representation will be relegated to a chargé d’affaires leading the EU country’s mission in Moscow.

“The Estonian leadership has deliberately destroyed all relations with Russia,” the ministry said, citing the Baltic nation’s “total Russophobia” following Tallinn’s recent decision to drastically cut the Russian embassy’s staff.

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

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

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

Estonia, a staunch ally of Ukraine, has called on Western countries to send tanks to Kiev to counter Moscow’s offensive. In October, parliament passed a statement declaring Russia a “terrorist regime”.

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

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

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