Nordic and Baltic countries, and the European Union have demanded that Russia release an Estonian security officer Russia has charged with espionage.
Meeting in Tallinn on Friday for a regional cooperation summit (NB8), representatives expressed “deep concern” about what was called the abduction and arrest of Eston Kohver. The foreign ministers of Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden called for his immediate release and safe return to Estonia.
The ministers reiterated Estonia’s statement that Kohver was abducted and drugged at gunpoint across the border to Russia and is in custody in a Moscow prison. Russia says he was detained on its side of the border with Estonia.
In Brussels, the European Union said on Thursday that Hohver’s abduction on Estonian territory “runs against international law and the principle of inviolability of borders” and also called for his immediate release.
Kohver may spend up to 20 years in prison under Russian law if found guilty.
Kohver’s attorney says he was charged on September 8 with spying and is being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.
Estonia’s Internal Security Service said in a statement on September 5, that Kohver was abducted and drugged at gunpoint across the border to Russia.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed that Kohver was on an intelligence mission, while Tallinn said he was abducted while carrying out his duties to investigate cross-border crime.