‘Sheer retaliation’: Russia expels 18 EU officials

“Pure retaliation”
Russia expels 18 EU officials

In early April, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell declared 19 Russian representatives “undesirable”. Now the return coach comes from Moscow. Russia has almost exactly the same number of EU representatives as Russia.

In the context of the Ukrainian conflict, Russia expelled from the country 18 members of the EU representation in Moscow. The EU staff have been declared an “undesirable person” and will have to leave Russia “in the near future”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. At the same time, he accused the EU of “systematically destroying the architecture of bilateral dialogue and cooperation that has been created over decades”.

The EU called the evictions “unjustified”. “There is no reason for the Russian authorities’ decision on Friday that goes beyond pure retaliation,” the EU’s diplomatic service in Brussels said. “Russia’s chosen course of action will further deepen its international isolation.”

As also announced by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, the head of the EU mission in Russia, Markus Ederer, has been summoned. Moscow’s criticism of the expulsion of 19 members of the Russian representation to the European Union in early April was to be presented.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had declared 19 Russian representatives to the EU “undesirable”. Borrell cited the “illegal” and “worrying” actions of the Russian mission to the EU as justification.

Hundreds of Russian diplomats expelled

Over the past few weeks, many European countries have collectively expelled hundreds of Russian diplomats. The deportations were partly officially justified by the Russian military operation in Ukraine, partly by allegations of espionage.

Just a few days ago, France expelled six Russian secret agents from the country. The agents, who operated under diplomatic cover and whose activities went against national interests, were declared undesirable, the Paris foreign ministry said. After very long investigations, the French security authorities succeeded in discovering the hidden operation of the Russian secret services.

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