Monday, January 23, 2023
Moscow – (dpa)
Estonia announced the expulsion of the Russian ambassador in Tallinn today, Monday, in response to Russia’s announcement asking the Estonian ambassador to leave the country.
“Estonia will not give up the principle of reciprocity. This means that the Russian ambassador in Tallinn will also have to leave Estonia by February 7,” Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalo said after the Russian announcement to Radio Estonia.
And Russia announced earlier that it was going to reduce the level of relations with its western neighbor.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that “the ambassador of the Republic of Estonia must leave the Russian Federation on the seventh of February.”
There is a dispute between the two countries over the number of officials appointed at embassies and consulates, and Estonia, a member of the European Union and NATO, and a strong supporter of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, called for reducing the number of Russian employees in Tallinn to the same level as the number of Estonia’s employees in Moscow.
Russia described it as a “new, unfriendly step” aimed at severing ties with a country that was once part of the Soviet Union. The future interests of Estonia will be taken care of by a representative in Moscow.
Minister Rinsalo also said that he will call on other European countries at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels to follow Estonia’s step and limit the number of Russian embassies staff.
Some have already taken such action.
Latvia’s Foreign Minister, Edgers Renkivics, announced in a tweet on the social networking site “Twitter” that his country would reduce its diplomatic relations with Russia in solidarity with its neighbor Estonia.
The move will take effect on February 24, the first anniversary of Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine.
This would mean recalling the Latvian ambassador from Moscow and therefore the Russian ambassador would also have to leave Latvia.
The Russian ambassador, who has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Riga, has been informed of this, an adviser to Renkivics told the Latvian news agency LETTA.
It is noteworthy that relations between Russia and the three Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been marred by tension for years as a result of differing views on their common Soviet past. Tensions rose sharply in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.