Estonia reciprocally expels Russian diplomat

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Estonia will expel a Russian diplomat in response to Russia expelling an Estonian diplomat last week.

On Thursday, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian Ambassador to Estonia Aleksandr Petrov and handed him a note which said a diplomat from the Russian Embassy has been declared persona non grata. The diplomat must now leave the country.

The foreign ministry said in a statement: "This is in response to the expulsion of our consul from Russia, as is customary in international diplomacy and on the basis of reciprocity."

The move is reciprocal after Russia detained and declared persona non grata Estonia's consul in St Petersburg last week. Russia said diplomat Mart Lätte was handling "classified documents", the Estonian Ministry of Foreign affairs condemned the action and called it a provocation.

A statement from the ministry on Thursday said: "We hope that this episode will not damage bilateral relations between Estonia and Russia. Estonia continues to be interested in good neighborly and constructive relations."

It is unfortunate that Russia has chosen an unfriendly way to communicate with the European Union and its Member States, the ministry added.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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