Foreign ministry summons Russian ambassador over civilian deaths in Ukraine

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs lit in blue and yellow in solidarity with Ukraine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs lit in blue and yellow in solidarity with Ukraine. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Russian ambassador was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday and Estonian officials condemned the killing of civilians by Russian armed forces in Ukraine

Undersecretary Märt Volmer told Ambassador Vladimir Lipaev the "horrendous acts of violence" in the town of Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, where hundreds of civilians have been killed, "shows a complete disregard for not only international law but also the basic principles of humanity", the ministry said in a statement.

Volmer reiterated Estonia's request for Russia to comply with United Nations resolutions calling for the country to end its war against Ukraine and withdraw its troops.

"Estonia continues to monitor events in Ukraine closely and helps to document and investigate the evidence collected to make sure war criminals are held accountable for the crimes they have committed," he said.

Estonia stands in solidarity with Ukraine and its people and continues to offer support to Ukraine, the ministry said. The country is "working tirelessly to isolate the aggressor politically, ramp up sanctions and provide Ukraine with military and political support to make sure it becomes impossible for Russia to continue its aggression."

Russia launched an attack on Ukraine on February 24.

PM: Not ruling out expelling Russian ambassador

Flowers, candles and posters outside the Russian Embassy in Tallinn's Old Town. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

On Monday, Lithuania downgraded its diplomatic relations with Russia by recalling its ambassador from Moscow, expelling the Russian ambassador and closing the Russian consulate in the port city of Klaipeda.

As Latvia has also said it will reduce its relations with Moscow, this raised questions over whether Estonia would follow.

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said, at the moment, it will not do so.

"We recently expelled a lot of diplomats, including the deputy head of the embassy. Relevant discussions will continue. We need to realize that the step would leave us without a mission in Russia and spark a retaliation. But I am not ruling anything out at this point. The message would be stronger if we coordinated the move with partners. Our approach is to negotiate steps first and then take them together for extra impact," Kallas explained.

Estonian officials have also called for Russia to be expelled from international organizations, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Lithuania Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis said the government took the decision as: "The brutality of the Russian occupation forces has gone beyond any norms of the civilized world."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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