Russia downgrades diplomatic ties with Estonia, expels ambassador

The Russian foreign ministry says it has downgraded diplomatic relations with Estonia and told the Baltic nation's ambassador to Russia to leave.

The ministry revealed in a statement on Monday that the Estonian envoy was summoned over the matter.

The ministry said the Estonian leadership has been deliberately destroying the relationship with Russia, and that "total Russophobia" was elevated by Estonia to the rank of state policy.

The ministry said the move was in response to an earlier Estonian action. On January 11, Estonia's foreign ministry told Moscow to reduce the number of Russian diplomats stationed in the capital, Tallinn, by February 1.

Following the latest development, the Estonian foreign ministry tweeted that the Russian ambassador to Estonia will leave at the same time as his Estonian counterpart.

Estonia and the other two Baltic nations have been increasingly wary of Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. Their foreign ministers on Saturday released a statement calling on Germany to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks.