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NATO Urges Russia to Stop Threats Against Estonia

03 May 2007

NATO is calling on Russia to stop threats against the Estonian embassy in Moscow and to resolve a dispute over the relocation of a Soviet war memorial in Estonia's capital.

A NATO statement Thursday says Russia must immediately stop what it calls "unacceptable actions" against the Estonian ambassador and her diplomatic staff.

On Wednesday, protesters in Moscow broke into a news conference by the ambassador, and her bodyguards used pepper spray to keep the intruders from storming the stage.

Russia has also cut oil supplies to Estonia, saying the Russian state-run railway needs to repair tracks used to transport the oil.

Estonia also charges that computer hackers working from inside the Kremlin forced the Estonian government's web sites to shut down. Russian authorities have not responded to the charge, but accuse Estonian police of torturing Russian-speaking detainees from protests in Tallinn last week.

In Moscow Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded immediate access to the jailed ethnic Russians. A ministry statement says Lavrov conveyed his demand to his Estonian counterpart by telephone. The ministry also says Lavrov sought to reassure Estonia that Moscow police are taking "all possible measures" to ensure that demonstrators outside the Estonian embassy stay within the law.

Ethnic Russians in Estonia and the Kremlin say relocation of the war memorial in Tallinn is an insult to Soviet troops who liberated Estonia from the Nazis in World War II. Many Estonians say the memorial was a reminder of the Soviet Union's 50-year occupation of their country.

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