Estonia expels Russian diplomats, closes two consular offices

Protest signs outside the Russian embassy on March 7, 2022.
Protest signs outside the Russian embassy on March 7, 2022. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia will expel 14 of Russia's consular staff and close consular offices in Narva and Tartu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday. "There can be no talk of business as usual," officials said.

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Estonia Vladimir Lipaev was summoned to the ministry and handed a diplomatic note on the closure of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Narva and the Consular Office of the Russian Embassy in Tartu.

Estonia decided to expel and declare as persona non grata 14 of their staff, including seven employees with diplomatic status.

Undersecretary Märt Volmer, who presented the note, said they must leave Estonia by April 30.

Volmer said in light of the constant news of atrocities committed by the Russian forces, including in Bucha and elsewhere, there can be no talk of business as usual, especially in view of Russia's grave violation of international law, including the international commitments it has taken upon itself.

The undersecretary added the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity must be held accountable, a statement from the ministry said.

Volmer reiterated that Russia's actions in Ukraine were unacceptable. Russia must also withdraw its forces from Ukraine and take responsibility for the war damages it has caused.

Several other EU countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Spain, expelled diplomats over the crimes in Bucha, near Kyiv, where dozens of bodies were found over the weekend in mass graves or littering the streets.

On Tuesday, Latvia sent out 13 consular staff and diplomats and closed two consulates.

On Monday, Lithuania went further, telling the Russian ambassador to leave, recalling its ambassador from Moscow and closing a consulate in the port city of Klaipeda.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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