Estonia considers expelling Russian diplomats because of 'Skripal case'

The Prime Minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas, canceled his trip to Russia as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Estonia’s independence. According to the Estonian Foreign Ministry,the decision was made after negotiations in Brussels, RBC news agency reports.

“I decided not to visit Russia in May where I planned participate in activities devoted to the 100th anniversary of Estonia,” the press service of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign affairs quoted the Minister as saying.

Estonia’s Independence Day has been celebrated on February 24th since 1918. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Republic, commemorative events have been planned worldwide.

One of the additional steps Estonia considers in response to the Skripal case may be an expulsion of Russian diplomats, the Prime Minister added. Tallinn will make specific decisions early next week, the politician specified.

Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia suggested banning the entry of 49 Russians from the Magnitsky list, as reported on the website of the Ministry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia has already announced plans to expel Russian diplomats. According to sources of the Guardian, France, Poland, and Lithuania are also considering the same actions as a show of solidarity with Great Britain. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially promised to take “decisive” measures against Russia.

On Friday, March 23rd the European Union called its Ambassador in Russia, Markus Ederer, to Brussels for consultations.  This decision is not related to the sanctions, as the Ambassador has been recalled for a while, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte explained.

London accuses Russia of poisoning former GRU (Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate) Colonel, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia using the nerve-paralyzing agent Novichok.  Russia denies its involvement.

On March 14th, Great Britain decided to expel 23 Russian diplomats. In response, Russia also expelled 23 British diplomats and closed of the British Council and Consulate General in Saint-Petersburg.

  Estonia, Russia, Skripal case, Sergei Skripal