Russia deteriorates relations with NATO member Estonia, expels envoy

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

Russia’s foreign ministry said it had told the Estonian envoy to leave next month, and that both countries would be represented in each other’s capitals by a temporary chargĂ© d’affaires rather than an ambassador.

It said this was in response to an Estonian move to reduce the size of the Russian embassy in Tallinn.

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

Estonia and its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania are among a group of NATO allies strongly advocating for Germany to supply its Leopard main battle tanks to boost Ukraine in repelling the Russian invasion.

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

Commenting on the deterioration in 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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