Estonia on Tuesday (July 6) accused Russia of detaining a diplomat for the purpose of making him look like a spy, saying the incident showed that Russia chose to confront in its relations with Europe.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) stated that it had detained Mart Latte, a diplomat in St. Petersburg, after he was “captured on the spot” for obtaining confidential information from Russian citizens.
The FSB said in a statement: “This activity does not match the status of a diplomat, and its nature is obviously a hostile attitude towards the Russian Federation.” “Foreign diplomats will take measures that conform to the norms of international law.”
In recent months, Russia’s relations with European countries have been damaged by a series of espionage accusations against Russian diplomats in Europe. EU countries such as Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Romania have carried out tit-for-tat expulsions with Moscow.
Aari Lemmik, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, said that after leaving the working meeting of St. Petersburg State University, the latte has been detained by the FSB for one and a half hours.
“The allegation that he possessed confidential documents is totally unfounded. This is a provocation. The whole incident is a setting,” she said.
“We think this is another example of Russia choosing to confront rather than reverse the negative trend of relations with EU member states.”
In April this year, the Russian Embassy in Estonia called Tallinn’s expulsion of one of its diplomats an unfriendly and unfounded move towards Moscow.