Estonian diplomat expelled from Moscow in tit for tat move

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Russia is expelling an Estonian diplomat from Moscow in a tit for tat move following a similar action by Tallinn, Estonia’s foreign ministry said Friday.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry had summoned Estonia’s charge d’affaires, who heads the European Union country’s mission in Moscow, to protest the expulsion this month of a Russian diplomat in Estonia and announce that an Estonian diplomat must leave Moscow.

The Russian ministry warned that Moscow will also take other retaliatory action in response to the “persistently provocative anti-Russian actions by the Estonian authorities.”

Estonia’s foreign ministry dismissed that charge as “ludicrous.” It said its diplomat has been given until April 5 to leave Russia, and added that the Estonian embassy in Moscow ”will continue to operate and the staff will continue their work.”

On March 24, Tallinn said a Russian diplomat’s activities had violated international law, and gave the person five days to leave Estonia, according to the Baltic News Service.

The diplomat, who Estonian broadcaster ERR said was a consul in Tallinn, had allegedly engaged in activities undermining Estonia’s security and constitutional order, spreading propaganda that justifies Russia’s war in Ukraine and causing divisions in Estonian society, BNS said.

In January, the Estonian Foreign Ministry ordered Russia to reduce the size of its embassy staff in Tallinn by more than half, to achieve parity with the number of people working at the Estonian embassy in Moscow. A total of 13 Russian diplomats and eight technical staff were made to leave Estonia at that time.

Russia responded by telling Tallinn that Estonia’s ambassador to Russia had to leave.