February 5, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Diplomatic scandal escalates between Russia and the Baltic countries, with harsh statements and the expulsion of diplomats

On Monday, January 23, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it had summoned the Estonian Ambassador to Moscow, Margus Laidre, and gave him until February 7 to leave the Russian Federation. The Russian ambassador in Tallinn is also recalled.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Estonia “purposefully destroyed the entire range of relations with Russia,” and recently drastically reduced the composition of the Russian embassy:

“As a response, the Russian side decided to reduce the level of diplomatic representation in both countries to a charge d’affaires. On January 23, Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry. He was strongly protested in connection with the actions of the Estonian authorities. The Estonian ambassador should leave the Russian Federation February 7, 2023”.

It all started in mid-January, when Estonia decided to reduce the number of employees at the Russian embassy in Tallinn. From February 1, only eight diplomats (instead of 21) and 15 members of administrative, technical and service personnel (instead of 23) will be able to work in the country.

Marina Kaljurand, the former Estonian ambassador and ex-foreign minister, and now a member of the European Parliament, called, at the initiative of Estonia, to recall the ambassador in Moscow and expel the Russian one, as this would be the right political signal, writes err.ee.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said he would call on member states EU adhere to the principle of parity in diplomatic relations with Russia, according to which the number of diplomats in both countries should be the same.

In turn, Latvia demands that the Russian ambassador leave the country by February 24. This was announced by the country’s Foreign Ministry, explaining the decision to downgrade diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation. The ministry’s statement says:

“The Ambassador of Russia must leave Latvia by February 24, 2023. Also, the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia to Russia will leave Russia by February 24.”

On Monday, the Russian ambassador was informed about the decision of the Latvian side to reduce the level of its diplomatic representation in Russia from February 24 to the level of charge d’affaires. The decision, the Foreign Ministry clarifies, was made in view of the fact that Russia continues the full-scale military aggression against Ukraine launched on February 24, 2022, as well as in solidarity with Estonia and Lithuania.



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