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Russia's flag flutters in front of the Russian Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia, on March 27, 2018. (Raigo Pajula/AFP via Getty Images)
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An employee of the Russian Embassy in Estonia has been declared a persona non-grata and expelled from the country, Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsakhna said on March 19.

Tensions between Tallinn and Moscow surged following the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in February that authorities had "successfully stopped a hybrid operation by Russia's security services on our territory."

Earlier in February, Metropolitan Yevgeniy of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate announced he was leaving Estonia after the government decided not to extend his residence permit, citing public statements and actions he had made in support of Russia's military aggression.  

In comments printed on the Foreign Ministry's website, Tsakhna said, "With its actions, the Russian Embassy has interfered in the internal matters of Estonia in an unacceptable way, more specifically in the judicial process, acquiring documents from a criminal case and contributing to their publication on Russian social media."

"By expelling the diplomat, we are demonstrating that Estonia will not allow any actions orchestrated by a foreign state on its territory," he concluded.

Tsakhna did not clarify the specifics of the diplomat's actions or which criminal case he referred to.

Estonia’s FM warns Baltic states have 3 to 4 years to prepare for Russian ‘assessment’ of NATO capabilities
Estonia’s foreign minister emphasized on Feb. 14 that NATO has a timeframe of approximately three to four years to enhance its defensive capabilities as Russian leader Vladimir Putin ramps up his nation’s military activities, AP reports.
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