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Estonia terminating legal assistance agreement with Russia

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

Estonia will end its legal assistance agreement with Russia, the government decided on Thursday. A draft law will be submitted to the Riigikogu.

The subject was first discussed in December and the move will lower judicial cooperation with Russia to the same basis as with all other third countries. 

"One of the preconditions for the agreement is trust in the legal system of the other country and we have no trust in Russia," Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) said. 

"For as long as Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine continues, we must keep up our efforts to isolate Russia on the international stage and maintain the bilateral relations between Estonia and Russia at the absolute minimum level," he said explaining the decision to end the agreement. 

"Our goal is to terminate the agreement at the earliest opportunity because it is our clear position that we do not cooperate with an aggressor."

The current agreement primarily concerns family law, such as alimony payments, and commercial law, regarding day-to-day relations between firms on either side of the border.

Terminating the agreement is not likely to drastically change the situation, as Estonian courts will still be able to process judgments relating to the Russian Federation.

In September, Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) said: "There were a total of 240 requests for legal assistance in 2022, primarily to Estonia, from Russia."

Treaty enforcement has been problematic as Russia does not always enforce Estonian rulings.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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