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Russia expels 40 German diplomats

MOSCOW (AFP) – Moscow said yesterday it was expelling 40 German diplomats in response to the “unfriendly decision” by Berlin to kick out Russian diplomats over the conflict
in Ukraine.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it summoned Germany’s ambassador in Moscow and handed him a note “declaring persona non grata 40 employees of German diplomatic institutions in Russia as part of a symmetrical response”.

“A strong protest was made to the head of the German diplomatic mission in Moscow in connection with the openly unfriendly decision of the German government,” to expel Russian diplomats, the ministry said.

Earlier in April, Germany said it was expelling a “significant number” of Russian diplomats, amid similar moves by other European states, over Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the decision was in response to the “unbelievable brutality” of Russian forces in its pro-Western neighbour Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called Baerbock’s words “unacceptable”.

It added that Berlin’s decision was “motivated by an absolutely false assertion that the work of the abovementioned employees was aimed at undermining the ‘freedom of Germany’ and ‘unity of German society’, as well as insinuations about what is happening in Ukraine”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. PHOTO: AFP