Russia puts Estonian Prime Minister on wanted list but refuses to say why

By Isaac M February 13, 2024

Russia has put Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on a wanted list, an official register showed Tuesday, as tensions soar between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

Kallas’ name appeared on the Interior Ministry’s register of people wanted in connection with criminal charges. It didn’t specify what charges Kallas was facing.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Kallas is wanted for “desecration of historical memory”. Russian state agency TASS said the Baltic officials were accused of “destroying monuments to Soviet soldiers”.

It is the first time the ministry has put a foreign leader on a wanted list.

Kallas has been a strong supporter of Ukraine, spearheading efforts to increase military assistance to Kyiv and tighten sanctions against Russia.

She also has angered Moscow by pushing for the removal of monuments to Soviet World War II soldiers. Russia has laws criminalizing the “rehabilitation of Nazis” that include clauses punishing the desecration of war memorials.

Estonian Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop was also put on the wanted list, according to the register.

The moves appear to reflect an attempt by Moscow to up the ante as it faces pressure from NATO allies as fighting in Ukraine nears the two-year mark, but means little in practical terms as Russia-West contacts have been frozen during the conflict.

There was no immediate reaction to the move from the Estonian authorities.

A spokesperson for Kallas was not immediately available for comment. A spokesperson for Lithuania’s Kairys could not confirm the order to Reuters.

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