Estonia is Expelling 21 Russian Diplomats
Estonia announced that it is expelling 21 Russian diplomats and other employees of the Russian embassy in order to "achieve parity" in the number of diplomatic personnel, BTA reported.
"There is no justification for the current size of the Russian embassy," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in a statement.
The number of employees in the embassies of Russia and Estonia will be equal in the future, the ministry specified.
Thus, Russia's diplomatic mission in Tallinn will be reduced to eight diplomats and 15 administrative, technical and support staff.
The deportees will have to leave Estonia by the end of the month.
In April, Russia ordered the closure of the Estonian consulates in St Petersburg and Pskov and declared their staff "persona non grata".
Moscow took this decision after the three Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - expelled Russian diplomats after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that Moscow will not leave Estonia's decision unanswered. She described Estonia as "one of the most hostile countries to Russia", where "Russophobia has been raised to the rank of state policy".
In August, Estonia stopped issuing visas to Russian citizens after the EU issued a recommendation to member states to limit the admission of Russian tourists and review the validity of already issued Schengen visas.
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