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  Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Russia sees no justification for the removal of the WWII Bronze Soldier statue in Tallinn and plans to review its relations with Estonia
Russia sees no justification for the removal of the WWII Bronze Soldier statue in Tallinn and plans to review its relations with Estonia, the Foreign Ministry said Friday. During the night Friday, the Estonian government made the decision to remove the Soviet war memorial from Tynismyagi square, in central Tallinn, which led to clashes between police and a crowd of approximately 500 protesters that had gathered in the square to protest the government decision. "The actions taken by the Estonian government have caused regret and cannot be justified," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said. Estonian police arrested more than 300 people during violent clashes in Tallinn, with 13 police officers being injured. One protester was killed and at least 44 injured during the public disturbance, which saw mass damage in the city, Estonian police said. "During the night Friday the decision was made and the Bronze Soldier removed and taken under police guard," an Estonian government spokesman said. Kamynin said the events in Tallinn "need to be looked at by international organizations in all seriousness and necessary measures taken to cool the Estonian authorities' zeal," adding that in the future Russia would need "to determine its further action in the light of the events in Tallinn." Wednesday, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said the monument would not be moved before May 9, VE Day. "The exhumations will start soon...the Soldier will remain there both on May 8 and 9. This work cannot be completed in such a short period," Ansip told Russian language Radio 4. The six-foot statue, which was dismantled in the night, was a rallying point for ethnic Russians. Following clashes with Estonian nationalists near the statues the authorities called for the Bronze Statue and other monuments "dividing society" to be removed.
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