Russian and Estonian embassies are expelled amid "destroyed" relations
As ties between the nations reached a new low over Ukraine, Russia and Estonia announced on Monday that they were exiling the ambassadors from each other's nations in a tit-for-tat action. They said that their diplomatic missions will now be led by charges d'affaires.
As a sign of solidarity with its Baltic neighbor, Latvia declared that as of February 24, the day that marks the first anniversary of Russia's conflict in Ukraine, it would similarly sever diplomatic ties with Moscow.
Following Moscow's announcement that it was downgrading diplomatic relations with Tallinn, Moscow has ordered its envoys to leave.
For the first time since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre and demanded that he depart the nation by February 7.
According to a statement from the ministry, Estonia's diplomatic representation in Moscow will now be limited to a charge d'affaires who leads the EU nation's mission there.
Following Tallinn's recent decision to dramatically cut staff levels at the Russian embassy, the ministry claimed that the Baltic nation's "complete Russophobia" had "purposefully ruined the entire range of relations with Russia."
According to the government, the action was taken in retribution for Estonia's "latest unfriendly step."
In return, the Russian ambassador will go in accordance with "the concept of parity," according to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
Reinsalu announced plans to "to the utmost minimum" relax ties with Russia in a statement on January 11.
Estonia, a steadfast supporter of Ukraine, has urged Western nations to send tanks to Kyiv to fend off Moscow's invasion. Its parliament passed a resolution designating Russia as a "terrorist regime" in October.
The Baltic nation, which once belonged to the Soviet Union, has had tense relations with Russia for many years.
In April, Russia gave the go-ahead to close the Tallinn consulate in St. Petersburg.
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