In Estonia, authorities have begun dismantling and relocating a monument of a Soviet tank near the Estonian-Russian border town of Narva.

With heavy equipment, workers set about removing the war relic on Tuesday morning.

"A beautiful and sunny day has now begun and also the work on the relocation," said Prime Minister Kaja Kallas about the dismantling of the monument announced at short notice.

"We want everything to be peaceful."

The government in Tallinn had previously given the go-ahead for the removal of Soviet monuments from public spaces in the Baltic EU and NATO member state.

A public debate had erupted since Russia's attack on Ukraine.

The main focus was on the Soviet T-34 tank, which is now being dismantled near Narva in the east of the country.

It stands at the point where the Red Army crossed the Narva River during World War II and drove the German troops out of the city.

There was opposition from local residents to the dismantling of the tank to be taken to a museum.

The city's administration, whose population is more than 90 percent ethnic Russian, avoided making a decision about the future of the monument itself.

That's why the government made its decision early Tuesday morning, which Kallas says was also explained to its most important allies.

Russia had previously protested against the plans.

Estonia was alternately occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany during World War II.

After the end of the war, Estonia remained an involuntary part of the Soviet Union until 1991.

To date, around a quarter of the population are ethnic Russians, who often also have family ties to Russia.

According to polls, there is some support among them for the course taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war of aggression against Ukraine.