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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin Hits Estonia on Ethnicity

MOSCOW -- Russia on Thursday accused Estonia of failing to live up to its promise to end discrimination against ethnic Russians in the Baltic nation.

The charge came from the Foreign Ministry, where spokesman Mikhail Demurin complained that Estonia rejected Russia's proposal for a bilateral meeting on human rights this month.

According to Itar-Tass and Interfax, Demurin told reporters Estonia was backing out of a 1996 agreement with Russia to end discrimination against Russian-speakers.

Estonian Ambassador Mart Helme was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to hear the Russian complaints, he said.

All three Baltic nations harbor some hostility against Russians because of decades of Soviet occupation that ended in 1991. Demurin said Estonia refused the bilateral meeting on the grounds that it had already implemented measures which the two sides agreed to last year on the rights of ethnic Russians.

The Baltic News Service reported from Tallinn that Estonian officials denied the discrimination allegation and said it was motivated by Russia's reluctance to negotiate an agreement on their disputed border.