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Expulsion of Russian diplomat to harm normalization of relations with Estonia — embassy

The Russian diplomatic mission said it views Tallinn's decision as "ungrounded"

TALLINN, April 23. /TASS/. The Russian Embassy in Estonia believes that the expulsion of a Russian diplomat may void all efforts to normalize bilateral relations, the mission said Friday.

"The action, taken against a Russian diplomat, can void all efforts to bring the Russian-Estonian relations to a level that much better corresponds to the interests of the peoples of our countries," the statement says.

Earlier on Friday, the Estonian Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of one Russian diplomat in a move of solidarity with the Czech Republic.

The Russian diplomatic mission said it views the decision "to declare a Russian embassy employee a persona non grata by the Estonian side, taken in a gesture of ostentatious NATO and EU 'solidarity' with the Czech Republic, as unfriendly and totally ungrounded," adding that its "consequences for bilateral relations will be felt for a long time."

"We recall that, just recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin made it perfectly clear in his annual Address to the Federal Assembly that talking to our country from a position of force, in language of threats and ultimatums is pointless and futile," Russian diplomats added. "Actions of the Estonian authorities can hardly be explained by logic, especially considering that, on April 9, on Estonian initiative, foreign ministers of the two countries […] had a phone call, during which the Russian side underscored the necessity to establish a normal, non-confrontational atmosphere for bilateral relations."

On April 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Estonian counterpart Eva-Maria Liimets agreed to continue working on ratifying the Treaty on the national border. During the phone call, the Russian top diplomat noted that preconditions for the Treaty ratification are Estonia’s fulfillment of obligations taken in 2014, and abolishment of territory claims.