Former Estonian president, MEP call for Russian ambassador's expulsion
Russia's ambassador to Estonia should be expelled from the country, former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (2006-2016) and current MEP Marina Kaljurand (SDE) have said.
Writing on social media, Ilves pointed out the Russian Embassy had called Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) a liar in a Facebook post "for condemning Russians' war crimes".
"You are a guest in my country. I want you out. Russian citizens are the ones who need an embassy. We don't. Now leave," he wrote, tagging the Russian Embassy in Estonia in his post.
Member of European Parliament Marina Kaljurand, a former ambassador to Moscow, also called for Ambassador Vladimir Lipaev should be sent from Estonia. She said the decision not to expel him was "incomprehensible".
"An incomprehensible decision, especially after the massacres of civilians by Russian soldiers that became public yesterday [Sunday]. The Russian ambassador is a representative of the criminal Russian government and a propagandist mouthpiece. The Russian embassy spreads false information and ridicules the Estonian prime minister," she said.
Both Ilves and Kaljurand are former foreign ministers.
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.
This raised questions over whether Estonia would follow. Kallas said all options are on the table but she preferred to coordinate with allies first. Instead, the ambassador was summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Over the weekend, after Russian forces left the towns of Irpin and Bucha near Kyiv, it was revealed that hundreds of civilians had been killed and evidence of suspected war crimes was found.
Kallas said: "Photos of murdered civilians in Irpin and Bucha by Russian troops recall the mass killings by Soviet and Nazi regimes. This is not a battlefield, it's a crime scene. Mass killings of Ukrainian civilians by Russia are clear war crimes."
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Editor: Helen Wright