Russia expels Estonian diplomat

Wednesday, 4 August, 2021 - 00:37

Russia on Tuesday declared a staff member of the Estonian diplomatic mission in Moscow a "persona non grata," asking him to leave the country.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said it summoned Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre and gave him a note asking for the diplomat's departure within a week.

The ministry pointed out that this was a retaliatory move to the expulsion of a Russian diplomat from the Estonian capital Tallinn, where he was stationed, in response to the arrest and banishment of the Estonian consul in Saint Petersburg, Mart Latte, over spying allegations.

"We offer our Estonian partners to stop, not to further complicate the situation that they have already aggravated to the limit. Otherwise, a new decisive response from the Russian Foreign Ministry will follow. At the same time, the entire responsibility for the deterioration of bilateral relations will fall entirely on the Estonian side," the ministry said.

On July 6, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said it detained Latte "red-handed," trying to obtain classified information.

Latte was declared a persona non grata the following day and given 48 hours to leave Russia.