18 Feb 2021 19:07

Russia declares Estonian diplomat persona non grata in response to expulsion of Russian diplomat from Tallinn - Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) - Russia is expelling an Estonian diplomat as a retaliatory measure to the Estonian government's decision to expel a Russian diplomat from Tallinn, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

"It looks like the new Estonian government sworn in recently has decided to show its loyalty to Washington and Brussels by absolutely unwarrantedly declaring a diplomat of the Russian embassy in Tallinn persona non grata. He was in charge of culture and education, that is, precisely areas where cooperation still exists," Zakharova said at a press briefing on Thursday.

"Russia's response wasn't long in coming: the Estonian ambassador in Moscow was summoned, we expressed our strong protest and announced the expulsion of a diplomat of the Estonian diplomatic mission," she said.

Zakharova emphasized that this was not Moscow's initiative but a retaliatory measure.