Nytt

Flyttingen av seiersmonumentet kan få følger for forholdet mellom Moskva og EU, sier Russlands utsending til EU, Vladimir Chizhov. Det første Estland må gjøre er å be om unnskyldning, ellers kan striden forsure toppmøtet 18. mai.

Også NATO har blandet seg inn og advart Moskva, men striden om Estland er først og fremst et EU-anliggende. Moskva vil presse EU til å overlate Estland til russisk innflytelse. Men møter seg selv i døren som pålitelig energileverandør. Russerne har stanset eksporten av oljeprodukter og kull gjennom Estland, og minner om at en tredel av landets økonomi avhenger av Russland.

Men striden med Estland har illudert og fremhevet Moskvas nye linje, som er mer selvhevdende og aggressiv. Russerne finner seg ikke i å bli utfordet. Det gjelder også storpolitiske saker som Kosovos fremtid, og Polens embargo av russisk kjøtt.

Putins ungdomsbevegelse Nasji triumferte over at den estiske ambassadøren har tatt ferie. Den legger ikke skjul på sine trusler som den underbygger med vold. Den britiske ambassadør ble plaget og trakasser i månedvis fordi han hadde møtt opposisjonelle.

Ambassadør Malina Kaljurand ble angrepet på åpen gate onsdag.

Ms Kaljurand’s departure follows a siege of her embassy by Nashi, a pro-Kremlin youth group, which last night announced it was removing its picket from the embassy.

«This is not for political reasons; this is a regular vacation,» said the ministry. «If the embassy is not surrounded by demonstrators, then things are improving.»

But Nashi said on its website: «The fascist state’s ambassador Marina Kaljurand has chosen from the two options proposed by Nashi – to apologise or leave the territory of our country. She has chosen the latter.»

Mr Chizhov warned that unless Estonia publicly apologised as a first step to resolving the row, it could have lasting consequences for EU-Russia relations and would «tarnish» a summit between the two sides to be held on May 18.

The envoy accused the EU of «hypocrisy» in criticising Russia’s handling of the Estonian embassy siege, while failing to persuade the Baltic state to desist from moving the monument and the bones of 12 Soviet soldiers buried underneath it.

Russian state television last night claimed that Dmitry Ganin, a Russian who died from stab wouns while protesting at the Tallinn monument last Friday, lay on the ground for one-and-a-half hours before receiving medical attention.

Mr Chizhov hinted at economic ramifications for Estonia, claiming that one third of the Baltic country’s economy was based on re-exporting Russian raw materials – most of which arrived by rail – and there were big Russian investments in the country.

Referring to Wednesday’s disruption of the main railway line to Estonia, he said: «Repairs have to be done once in a while.» Asked how long the work might take, he smiled: «I’m not a railway specialist.»

Traders said on Wednesday that Russia had halted rail deliveries of vital oil products and steam coal to Estonia, which joined Nato and the EU in 2004.

Mr Chizhov and European ambassadors insisted that the planned summit should still go ahead, although the event could be overshadowed by the disputes over Estonia, the future status of Kosovo and the continuing Russian ban on Polish meat exports.

Russia warns of Estonia tension