Russia has lodged a protest with the Estonian ambassador in Moscow after the Estonian authorities denied a visa to a Russian diplomat and will take relevant measures in response, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
"A resolute protest was lodged with Estonian Ambassador in Moscow Margus Laidre over the latest unfriendly step by the Estonian side, which denied a visa to a Russian diplomat on August 30," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a commentary published on the ministry's website.
"We have warned the Estonian side on a number of occasions that its policy toward further deterioration will inevitably prompt our retaliatory steps. We have to take certain measures now in relation to an official being put on the staff of the Estonian diplomatic mission in Moscow. We urge partners to henceforth refrain from steps aimed at a further degradation of bilateral relations. Our response will be prompt," Zakharova said.
Responsibility for an escalation of the situation and its implications "rests entirely with the Estonian side," she said.
In early July of this year, Russia expelled Consul of the Estonian Consulate General in St. Petersburg Mart Latte from the country.
Estonia retaliated by declaring a Russian diplomat persona non grata, which was followed by Russia's decision to expel another diplomat who was serving at the Estonian embassy in Moscow in early August.
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on August 30 that it would retaliate by denying a visa to a Russian diplomat.
Editor: Helen Wright