France and Germany expel dozens of Russian diplomats

The Russian Embassy in Paris, in 2017.

The decisions were unveiled three days after the discovery of civilians executed by Russian forces during their withdrawal from the kyiv region. But they were in preparation long before, in consultation with Washington and the capitals of the European Union. France and Germany announced on Monday April 4 the expulsion of Russian diplomats considered to be spies. A total of 35 agents will have to leave Paris, and 40, Berlin.

” Activities [de ces personnels] are contrary to our security interests”, said the French diplomacy, in a very brief press release. The Russian ambassador in Paris, Alexei Mechkov, was summoned Tuesday morning to the Quai d’Orsay, in order to notify him of the decision and the list of persons concerned, which remains confidential.

According to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, these employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin constituted “a threat to those who seek protection with us”. “We will not tolerate it anymore”she added.

Moreover, Lithuania has decided to expel the Russian ambassador to Vilnius “in response to Russia’s military aggression against sovereign Ukraine and the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces”. These acts continued on Monday to be denounced by Westerners. In turn, US President Joe Biden called for a “war crimes trial” and “additional penalties” against Moscow. “He must be accountable”he added about his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, repeating that he considered him a “war criminal”.

“Espionage Actions”

If they mark a turning point on the part of Paris and Berlin, which seek to maintain a channel of communication with the Kremlin, these expulsions of Russian agents are not the first for the continent. The Baltic countries announced, at the start of the invasion of Ukraine, on February 24, the expulsion of a dozen diplomatic representatives, and Moscow responded with a similar measure.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers War in Ukraine: Russian “diplomats” expelled from certain countries of the European Union

Bulgaria declared ten diplomats persona non grata from March 18. On March 22, Poland announced the expulsion of 45 diplomats. “We forcefully and consistently destroy the networks of Russian intelligence agencies on our territorycommented the Minister of the Interior and coordinator of special services, Mariusz Kaminski. These are people who operate under cover of diplomatic status, but who in fact conduct espionage actions against Poland. »

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