The Russian foreign ministry released a statement saying that Estonia had “purposefully ruined” relations with Russia.
The expulsion of Russian ambassador Margus Laidre is Russia’s first major diplomatic retaliation against the West since the invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
For its part, Estonia demanded that Russia’s ambassador withdraw by the same time.
After Estonia recently ordered a reduction in the size of the Russian Embassy in Tallinn, Russia has taken action against Mr. Laidre.
After receiving 17 diplomatic representatives in Moscow, Moscow was instructed to cut that number to eight by the end of January. Estonia released a statement in January saying that ever since the dispute began, embassy workers had stopped making efforts to improve relations.
The situation has been exacerbated by a meeting last week at an Estonian army base with representatives from 11 Nato countries to explore a variety of additional packages to assist Ukraine in retaking land and fending off potential Russian advances.
Edgars Rinkevics, the foreign minister of Latvia, has stated that beginning of February 24th, his nation will be taking a diplomatic stance in favour of Estonia and against Russia.
Mr. Laidre has served as ambassador to the Russian Federation from the United Kingdom and Finland, and he has been in his current position since 2018.
A chargé d’affaires, a lower-ranking diplomat, will take up his position at the Estonian Embassy in Moscow.
According to a statement released by the Russian foreign ministry, “the Estonian leadership has purposely degraded the whole range of relations with Russia in recent years.” Tallinn has made the promotion of enmity against Russia and the Russian people a governmental policy.
As ties between our two nations continue to deteriorate, Estonia has taken a further hostile move by drastically reducing the number of workers at the Russian embassy in Tallinn. In retaliation, the Russian government chose to demote its ambassador to the lower rank of “chargé d’affaires” in both nations.
According to the press announcement, Mr. Laidre was requested to leave the country after being called to the ministry on Monday. As the statement came to a close, it made clear that the responsibility for furthering ties between the two nations now rested with Estonia.