Russia expels Estonian diplomat in retaliatory step

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Thursday announced the expulsion of a diplomat from Estonia in a quid pro quo move to the Baltic nation’s decision to order a Russian envoy out.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman said Thursday that the Estonian ambassador was informed of the move at a meeting where Russia protested the expulsion of its diplomat.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Estonian decision to expel the Russian diplomat who had worked on cultural and educational issues was “absolutely baseless.”

She did not specify the responsibilities of the Estonian who was declared persona non grata in Russia.

Estonia, a former Soviet republic, is uneasy about the influence of its giant neighbor, while Russia bristles at Estonia’s NATO membership and its criticism of Russia on human rights and democracy.

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