Germany, Sweden and Poland mentioned on Monday they have been expelling a Russian diplomat, in retaliation for the expulsion from Moscow final week of its diplomats for allegedly taking part in protests in help of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
The three EU nations introduced the tit-for-tat strikes in coordinated statements, which come in opposition to a backdrop of rising tensions with Russia.
“As we speak, the Federal International Ministry declared a member of the employees of the Russian embassy in Berlin persona non grata,” the German International Ministry mentioned.
Moscow’s choice to expel the Swedish, Polish and German diplomats “was not justified in any means,” he added.
Swedish International Minister Ann Linde mentioned Stockholm “knowledgeable the Russian ambassador that an individual from the Russian embassy is being requested to depart Sweden.”
“This can be a clear response to the unacceptable choice to expel a Swedish diplomat who was solely fulfilling his duties,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Polish International Ministry additionally condemned the “unfounded expulsion” of a Polish diplomat in St. Petersburg and mentioned that he had declared a Russian consular official in Poznan, western Poland, “persona non grata”.
Russia had introduced on Friday the expulsion of the three EU diplomats throughout a uncommon assembly in Moscow between the EU’s international coverage chief, Josep Borrell, and Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Moscow accused diplomats of attending “unlawful protests” final month.
Ties between Moscow and the EU have been worsened by Navalny’s arrest and imprisonment in latest weeks, prompting opposition protests throughout the nation.
Navalny was arrested upon returning to Moscow on January 17 after spending a number of months in Germany recovering from a poisoning assault that the West believes was ordered by the Kremlin.
The EU’s Borrell is predicted to satisfy with the international ministers of the 27 EU states on February 22 to debate new sanctions in opposition to Moscow that may require a unanimous vote amongst EU members.
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