Moscow (Times Of Ocean)- Russia on Friday has expelled 18 European Union diplomats from Moscow in retaliation for Brussels’ personae non gratae declaration earlier this month against 19 Russians.
In a statement on April 5, the EU said the 19 Russian diplomats had engaged in activities contrary to their diplomatic status and ordered them to leave Belgium.
Several other Western governments have taken similar steps in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Further, 73 Russian diplomats were expelled by Denmark, Sweden, and Spain, prompting a condemnation by the Kremlin. Since Russia launched its war on Ukraine on Feb 24, at least 382 Russian diplomats have been expelled from European countries.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated in its statement that they summoned the EU ambassador to Russia, Markus Ederer, and presented him with a protest letter.
“The Russian side declared that the EU is responsible for the consistent destruction of the architecture of bilateral dialogue and cooperation that had taken decades to form,” it said.
According to the ministry, EU diplomats should leave Russia as soon as possible.
In a statement, the EU mission in Russia said it regretted what it called an unfounded move.
“The decision of the Russian authorities announced on Friday has no grounds and is nothing else than a retaliatory step,” it said in a statement on Telegram.
“Russia’s chosen course of action will further increase its international isolation,” the EU mission added.