Russia expels Estonian diplomat for espionage
Russia expelled an Estonian diplomat after accusing him of espionage and gave him 48 hours to leave the country.
Estonia accused Russia on Tuesday of briefly detaining Mart Latte, one of its St. Petersburg-based consuls, after a “cut” it said was aimed at making him look like a spy.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday announcing Latte’s expulsion that it did not believe in denials and summoned an Estonian diplomat to Moscow to protest activities he deemed incompatible with diplomacy.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said a day earlier that he had detained Latte after he was “caught red-handed” receiving confidential information from a Russian citizen.
“We stressed that we consider Tallinn’s official position to be extremely cynical since there is compelling evidence of the illegal activities of this Estonian ‘diplomat’,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russia’s relations with several European countries have been strained in recent months by a number of espionage accusations against Russian diplomats in Europe.
Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania are among the EU countries with which Russia has exchanged tacit deportations.
In April, the Russian Embassy in NATO member Estonia called the expulsion of one of its diplomats from Tallinn as an unfriendly and baseless gesture.