After the attack on Ukraine, numerous countries expelled Russian diplomats. In any case, Moscow announces a counter-reaction. Now it hits France, Spain and France. The Kremlin has set a deadline for the countries to allow their representatives to leave the country.
Russia has again expelled dozens of diplomats in retaliation. The French Ambassador Pierre Lévy was handed a note declaring 34 employees of the French mission abroad to be "undesirable persons", according to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow. You now have two weeks to leave the country. Likewise, 27 Spanish embassy and consulate employees have to leave the country. You only have seven days to do this. According to Russian news agencies, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also announced the expulsion of the 24 Italian diplomats. According to reports, the Swedish ambassador was also summoned to the foreign ministry on Wednesday.
The French government condemned the expulsions "in the strongest terms". According to the Foreign Ministry in Paris, the decision was presented by the Russian government as a "response" to the expulsion of "Russian agents" from France. The diplomats and staff at the French embassy in Russia, on the other hand, "completely" complied with the rules of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In April, France expelled 41 Russian diplomats from the country in response to the Russian military operation in Ukraine. According to the Foreign Ministry in Paris, some of them had worked as secret agents in France "under diplomatic cover". Russia protested against "the provocative and unfounded decision" to expel Russian diplomats, the Foreign Ministry said. With the expulsion of Russian diplomats, France is doing "serious damage to Franco-Russian relations and constructive bilateral cooperation."
It had previously become known that the Spanish ambassador in Moscow, Marcos Gómez, had been summoned. Since the expulsion of 27 employees of the Russian embassy in Madrid on April 5, a corresponding countermeasure had been expected in Spain.
Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi condemned the expulsion and spoke of a "hostile act". But it is also a "reaction" to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Italy, he said. He warned that diplomatic channels should be kept open, because these channels were used to work for peace in Ukraine.
Since the start of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, numerous European countries have collectively expelled hundreds of Russian diplomats. For its part, Russia has declared numerous diplomats from Western countries to be undesirables, recently around 40 employees of Germany's diplomatic missions.