Russia downgrades ties with NATO member Estonia, expels envoy

(Reuters) – Russia said on Monday it was downgrading diplomatic ties with NATO member Estonia, accusing Tallinn of “total Russophobia”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had told the Estonian envoy he was to leave next month, and that the two countries would be represented in each other’s capital by an interim charge d’affaires instead. of an ambassador.

He said this followed a decision by Estonia to reduce the size of the Russian embassy in Tallinn.

“In recent years, the Estonian leadership has deliberately destroyed the whole gamut of relations with Russia. Total Russophobia, the culture of hostility towards our country has been elevated by Tallinn to the rank of state policy,” he said. -he declares.

Estonia and its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania are part of a group of NATO allies who are making a strong case for Germany to provide its Leopard battle tanks to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion.

Estonia joined other Ukrainian allies last week in sending more weapons.

Commenting on the deterioration of ties, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “The Estonian regime got what it deserved.”

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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