The Russian Foreign Ministry plans to comprehensively respond to the situation with Sputnik journalists in Estonia, the ministry's official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Rossiya-1 TV channel on Sunday.
"In this case, depending on who is behind the Estonian media landscape and who is behind all those dirty tricks which we see used against the Russian media, the response will be comprehensive and interesting," Zakharova said.
The situation around Sputnik's Estonian bureau exacerbated in the autumn when local affiliates of foreign banks froze the bureau's assets and the property owner asked Sputnik employees to vacate the rented place in Tallinn by the end of February. Rossiya Segodnya said later that the Estonian authorities threaten Sputnik employees with criminal cases if they do not stop working for the company. Tallinn said that Sputnik's employees may face sanctions because Rossiya Segodnya's head Dmitry Kiselev was blacklisted by the European Union, TASS reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that pressure exerted on Sputnik in Estonia represents "surprising cynicism." OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir called on the Estonian authorities to lift all restictions from Sputnik journalists. Russian parliament members said that they intend to raise this issue at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that he will provide a comprehensive explanation of restrictions imposed on Sputnik to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.