Russia has to cut its embassy staff in Estonia by almost half. The Foreign Ministry in Tallinn called on the neighboring country’s representation on Wednesday to limit its number of employees in the Baltic EU and NATO country to eight diplomats and 15 seconded employees by February 1, 2023. Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu announced that the number of staff in the Russian embassy should be aligned with that of the Estonian representation in Moscow. According to this, a total of 13 Russian diplomats and eight other employees have to leave Estonia.
“Since the beginning of the war (in Ukraine), Estonia has reduced its bilateral relations with the Russian Federation to the bare minimum,” Reinsalu said. “Given the fact that the Russian embassy staff does not bother to advance Estonian-Russian relations during the war of aggression, we believe there is no reason for the current size of the Russian embassy.”
Estonia had already ordered the Russian consulates in Narva and Tartu to be closed in spring 2022 and expelled several Russian diplomats from the country. The Baltic state, in which a large Russian minority lives, borders Russia in the east and supports Ukraine in its defensive struggle militarily, financially and humanitarianally.