There are no grounds on which to claim that Russia is posing a military threat to Estonia, Russian Ambassador to Estonia Alexander Petrov said in an interview with Russian news agency Interfax on Tuesday.
"We see Estonia as a member of NATO, a member of the EU, and we do not call this membership into question," the ambassador told Interfax. "Yet we have repeatedly said that we cannot help but be concerned about NATO military infrastructures moving towards our borders. Hence, we simply must react and take countermeasures."
At the same time, he continued, Russia very much wants these tensions to cool off. "These tensions have not been initiated by us; we see no reason for escalating a military psychosis," said Petrov.
Accusations that Russia wishes to confront Estonia and claims of Russia's hostile propaganda are rooted in a deficit of information about what is happening in Russia, asserted the Russian ambassador, who suggested that the problem could be resolved by having Estonian citizens visit Russia.
"Such contacts are the best way to address the cliché pressed upon the population whenever Russia is mentioned," Petrov noted.
Russia expecting constructive approach to bilateral relations from new Estonian government
Congratulatory messages forwarded by senior Russian officials to Estonian leadership after the Baltic state's new president and government, including foreign minister, took office "...made it very clear that we are ready to develop contacts with the leadership of Estonia in a constructive way," said Petrov.
"We reaffirm our intention," continued the Russian ambassador. "This is our fundamental approach, our fundamental stance on the development of bilateral relations. We would like to feel reciprocity from the Estonian side as well."
Asked whether the Estonian side was sending Russia such signals, Petrov replied, "Unfortunately, no. We would like to be guided by purely practical matters. We are not keeping it a secret that we are expecting positive changes to happen with the arrival of the new government. It is the path that we are ready to follow, but 'it takes two to tango.'"
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla