Monday, February 6, 2023

Russia evicts French, Spanish, Italian diplomats

The move from Moscow has drawn the condemnation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi who described the expulsion as a “hostile act”.

• May 18, 2022
Russian President, Vladimir Putin
Russian President, Vladimir Putin [Photo Credit: Tirana Today]

Russia has announced its decision to expel the employees of the diplomatic missions of France, Spain and Italy. This is in response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from these countries.

On Wednesday, its foreign ministry said in statements posted to its website that the expulsion of the diplomats was retaliation for France and Spain’s decision to expel Russian diplomats last month. 

“As a response, 34 employees of French diplomatic institutions in Russia have been declared persona non grata. They must leave the territory of Russia within two weeks from the moment of serving the ambassadors with the relevant notices,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also expelled 24 Italian and 27 Spanish diplomats in response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats over its Ukraine invasion.

Italy had declared 30 Russian diplomats persona non grata in April and Spain expelled 25 diplomats and employees of the Russian Embassy in Madrid, citing concerns over national security. These expulsions followed reports of Russian war crimes recorded in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities.

Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had “expanded” the list of EU nationals and representatives of institutions denied entry into Russia. Diplomats from the European Union, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. 

The move from Moscow has drawn the condemnation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi who described the expulsion as a “hostile act”.

“This absolutely must not lead to an interruption of diplomatic channels because it is through those channels that, if we succeed, peace will be achieved and that is certainly what we want,” Mr Draghi told Reuters.

Foreign Policy’s analysis noted that at least 394 Russian officials have been expelled from diplomatic missions abroad since the country invaded Ukraine on February 24. 

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