According to the FSB, “he was receiving classified material from a Russian citizen,” reported the Sputnik news agency, in a context of increasing cases of espionage between Russia and the West.
“The FSB arrested in flagrant crime the Estonian diplomat and consul general in Saint Petersburg Mart Lätte, when he received classified documents from a Russian citizen,” said the security services, quoted by the news agency.
The FSB statement adds that measures will be taken against the diplomat in accordance with the norms of international law.
The note stresses that Lätte’s activity “is incompatible with the status of diplomatic employee” that would theoretically shield him from potential prosecutions and “is obviously hostile towards the Russian Federation,” the statement underlines.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas referred precisely to relations with Russia during a press conference with the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, visiting Tallin.
Kallas, who did not mention the case of the consul that had just come to light, advocated a relationship with “conditions” between the European Union and Moscow.
Espionage issues have increased in recent years between Russia and Western countries in parallel with the upsurge in tension since the Ukraine crisis and the annexation of Crimea by Moscow in 2014.
In April, the FSB arrested Ukraine’s consul in St. Petersburg, Alexandre Sossoniuk, for trying to obtain secret information and was urged to leave Russian territory.
Several European countries for their part accused Russia of acts of espionage, generating a reciprocal expulsion of diplomats.
Estonia, like its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, are former former Soviet republics that are now part of the European Union (EU) and NATO.