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Estonian consul in St. Petersburg must leave Russia within 48 hours — ministry

Earlier, it was reported that Mart Lyatte had been detained while receiving classified materials from a Russian national
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
© Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/TASS

MOSCOW, July 7. /TASS/. Estonian Consul in St. Petersburg Mart Lyatte must leave Russia within 48 hours, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday in a quote on the ministry’s website.

"On July 7, Charge d’affaires of the Estonian Embassy in Russia Ulla Uibo was summoned by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Russian side expressed resolute protest in relation to the activity tied to the collection of intelligence data incompatible with the diplomatic status of Consul of the Estonian Consulate General in St. Petersburg Mart Lyatte. The aforementioned employee of the Estonian Consulate was declared persona non grata, he is to leave the territory of the Russian Federation within 48 hours," the message says.

"Due to the statement by the Estonian Foreign Ministry claiming that Lyatte’s detention is ‘unlawful and provocative,’ and the accusations against him are ‘groundless,’ we noted that it is unacceptable to misrepresent the situation," the diplomat said. "We stressed that we consider Tallinn’s official position extremely cynical, as there is irrefutable proof of unlawful activity of this Estonian ‘diplomat,’ who, as we know, was caught red-handed while receiving classified materials from a Russian national."

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) informed TASS on Tuesday that Estonian Consul in St. Petersburg Mart Lyatte was detained while receiving classified materials from a Russian national. The special service stressed that this activity is not compatible with the status of a diplomatic worker, and that it is of a clearly hostile nature against the Russian Federation. Measures will be taken against the foreign diplomat in accordance with the norms of international law, the center stated.

In turn, the Estonian Foreign Ministry stated that the consul’s detention is a provocation.