Estonia expels Russian Embassy diplomat declared persona non grata

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Russian Embassy in Tallinn.
Russian Embassy in Tallinn. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared a member of the embassy's diplomatic staff persona non grata and has ordered them to leave the country within five days, the ministry announced Friday.

The ministry summoned the charge d'affaires of the Russian Embassy and presented them with a diplomatic note stating that the embassy's diplomatic staff member had been declared persona non grata.

"The activities of the person in question have violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and they have to leave Estonia by March 29," the ministry said in its statement.

"The diplomat in question has been engaged in directly and actively undermining Estonia's security and constitutional order, spreading propaganda that justifies Russia's military action and causing divisions in Estonian society," it added.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) told ERR late Friday morning that the diplomat in question is Alexander Savinov.

Savinov was listed on the ministry's 2022 Tallinn Diplomatic List as a counselor at the Russian Embassy.

Ambassadors left last month

On January 11, the Foreign Ministry ordered Russia to cut the size of its embassy staff in Tallinn to achieve parity with the number of people working at the Estonian Embassy in Moscow, forcing the Russian Embassy to more than halve its staff at the time. A total of 13 Russian diplomats and eight technical staff were made to leave the country.

On January 23, Russia responded by summoning the Estonian ambassador in Moscow and requesting they leave by February 7 and announcing it would be recalling its own ambassador in Tallinn.

Margus Laidre had served as Estonian ambassador to Moscow since October 2018. Russian Ambassador Vladimir Lipayev took up his post in Tallinn last February, immediately ahead of the launch of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Both ambassadors left their respective posts on February 7.

Currently, both Russia and Estonia have eight diplomatic staff working at their respective embassies in Tallinn and Moscow.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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