MOSCOW, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Russia has decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with Estonia to the level of charge d'affaires in retaliation of Estonia's move to reduce Russian embassy staff.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned Estonian Ambassador to Russia Margus Laidre in protest against actions of Estonia's authorities and ordered him to leave the country by Feb. 7.
"The Estonian leadership has purposefully destroyed the entire range of relations with Russia" by promoting Russophobia and hostility towards Russia, the ministry said in a statement.
In a tit-for-tat move, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted on Monday it will expel the Russian ambassador from its capital Tallinn.
Earlier this month, Estonia asked Russia to reduce staff at its embassy in Tallinn by more than half ahead of Feb. 1. ■