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Russia Detains Estonian Diplomat in St Petersburg

Representative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

Estonia said a "set-up" was designed to make Mark Latte look like a spy, saying the incident showed Russia was choosing confrontation in its relations with Europe.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) detained an Estonian diplomat based in St Petersburg, Mart Latte, as he was receiving confidential information from a Russian citizen, the service said on Tuesday.

“This activity is not compatible with the status of a diplomatic official, and its nature is clearly hostile to the Russian Federation," the FSB said in a statement.

“Measures in accordance with the norms of international law will be applied to the foreign diplomat." The FSB did not provide any further details.

Meanwhile, Estonia said a “set-up" was designed to make Latte look like a spy, saying the incident showed Russia was choosing confrontation in its relations with Europe.

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Aari Lemmik, a spokesperson for Estonia’s foreign ministry, said Latte had been held by the FSB for an hour and a half after leaving a working meeting at St Petersburg State University.

“This accusation that he was in possession of classified documents is completely groundless. This is a provocation. The whole incident was a set-up," she said.

“We think it’s another example that Russia has chosen confrontation instead of turning around the negative trend in relations with EU states member states."

In April, Russia’s embassy in Estonia called the expulsion of one of its diplomats by Tallinn an unfriendly and groundless move against Moscow.

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first published:July 06, 2021, 23:06 IST