Estonia’s Foreign Ministry has expelled a Russian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move against Moscow.
“The step was taken in line with international diplomatic customs and the principle of reciprocity as a response to the expulsion of an Estonian consul from Russia,” the Estonian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 15.
Last week, Russia briefly detained the Estonian consul in St. Petersburg, Mart Latte, and subsequently declared him persona non grata for allegedly receiving classified documents.
Estonia called the incident a “set up” and "unlawful and provocative."
Russia's relations with the West, including the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, have been tense in recent years over a host of actions by Moscow, including aggression against its neighbors, election interference, state-sponsored hacking, and human rights abuses at home.
The Kremlin has already expelled Estonian diplomats twice this year, both in retaliation for Estonia’s expulsion of Russian diplomats.
"Estonia remains interested in neighbourly and constructive relations," the Foreign Ministry said in the statement. "It is still regrettable that Russia has taken an unfriendly line in its communication with the European Union and member states."