Estonia protests to Russia over airspace violation as Baltic tensions rise

June 21 (Reuters) – Estonia summoned the Russian ambassador on Tuesday to protest an “extremely serious” violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter, the second time in less than two weeks that Tallinn has reprimanded the envoy of Moscow.

He also expressed solidarity with the Baltic nation Lithuania, which Moscow says will be punished for banning the transit of certain goods to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Read more

The Estonian Foreign Ministry said the helicopter flew over a southeast point without permission on June 18.

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“Estonia considers this to be an extremely serious and regrettable incident which undoubtedly causes further tension and is completely unacceptable,” it said in a statement, reiterating calls for Russian troops to they leave Ukraine.

“Russia must stop threatening its neighbors and understand that the price of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is indeed high,” he added.

A top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Lithuania it would be pained to ban European Union-sanctioned transit of goods through its territory to and from Kaliningrad.

Estonia also complained to the envoy on June 10 about Putin’s praise for an 18th-century Russian leader who captured a town that is now Estonian. Read more

Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia belonged to the Russian Empire before gaining independence after the First World War. In 1940, the Soviet Union annexed the trio, which only regained its independence in 1991.

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Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio

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