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Updated February 13th, 2024 at 19:04 IST

Russia Issues Arrest Warrant for Estonian PM Kaja Kallas, Declares Her ‘Wanted’

 Estonian leader Kallas was put on Russia’s ‘wanted’ list of criminals.

Digital Desk
Russia Estonia Putin arrest warrant
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Russia's President Vladimir Putin. | Image:AP
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In a first ever criminal case against head of the foreign government, Russia on Tuesday issued arrest warrant against the Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. Kallas was put on Russia’s ‘wanted’ list of criminals  just hours after she appeared on the state television and spoke in favour of dismantling a Soviet-era monument in the Estonian city of Narva, bordering Russia, according to  the independent news outlet Mediazona.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, the agency that probes major crimes, pressed criminal charges against the Estonian leader. Dozens of officials in Eastern European countries have faced a similar fate after Moscow charged them criminally for trying to dismantle Soviet-era monuments in their respective countries.

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Russia has included another official of the Baltic country on the list. Estonian State Secretary Taimar Peterkop was named alongside the Estonian Prime Minister. The outlet reported that alongside Kallas there are at least 96,000 entries on Russia's wanted list that includes at least 700 foreign officials including the Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish government officials. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been one of the staunchest critics of Russia’s war in the neighbouring Ukraine. 

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Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said she backed Kyiv's efforts to join NATO. (Ukraine government)

Estonia previously detained three pro Russian politicians, as they visited the Russia controlled cities of Donetsk and Mariupol ahead of the parliamentary elections in Estonia. The politicians hailed the might of the Russian Army which Estonia flagged as “Kremlin propaganda.” Estonian State Prosecutor's Office initiated a criminal proceeding at Tallinn District Court in the Estonian capital.

All three Baltic states officially became the members of NATO and the EU following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is the first time that Russia has pressed criminal charges against the foreign leader, since the ICC’s arrest warrants against President Vladimir Putin. On 17 March 2023, following a probe into the Russian war crimes against humanity and genocide, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights, alleging responsibility for their alleged war crimes and forceful detention of Ukrainian children and their transportation into Russia.

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Published February 13th, 2024 at 16:08 IST

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