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Estonian foreign minister says Moscow owes apology to Tallinn

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Estonia's foreign minister said Saturday it is Russia that owes his country an apology in the dispute over the removal of a Red Army monument and a war grave in the capital Talllinn.
TALLINN, May 5 (RIA Novosti) - Estonia's foreign minister said Saturday it is Russia that owes his country an apology in the dispute over the removal of a Red Army monument and a war grave in the capital Talllinn.

"It is Russia that should apologize to Estonia," the Estonian Foreign Ministry quoted Urmas Paet as saying. "No apologies have been offered to us for the blockade of our embassy in Moscow and for the attempt to attack the ambassador. Nor has Russia apologized for the cyber attacks on Estonia and for the lies spread by Russian media."

Paet's remarks came in response to a statement made Friday by the Russian ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, who said Estonia's failure to offer public apologies to Russia for the dismantling of the Soviet-era war memorial would adversely affect Russia's relations with the EU.

The memorial, commemorating Soviet soldiers who fought against Nazi Germany during WWII, was taken from central Tallinn to the city's outskirts on April 27. The move angered officials in Moscow, who described it as an act of blasphemy.

Earlier this week, pro-Kremlin youth groups held violent protests outside Estonia's embassy in Moscow, prompting Estonian authorities to briefly suspend the consular section's operations and evacuate some of the diplomatic staff.

The controversial relocation of the Soviet WWII memorial also sparked protests among members of Estonia's Russian community in Tallinn, where one person was killed and more than a hundred injured in clashes with police.

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