Russia expels 34 of about 90 German diplomats working in Moscow-UPDATED

Russia expels 34 of about 90 German diplomats working in Moscow-UPDATED
# 22 April 2023 20:37 (UTC +04:00)

Russia is expelling 34 out of about 90 German diplomats working in Moscow, Germany’s Bild tabloid newspaper said on Saturday, citing its own sources, APA reports.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the diplomats were being expelled in response to "Berlin’s hostile steps." The maximum number of staff members of the German diplomatic missions in Russia will also be considerably reduced.

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Russia said on Saturday it was expelling a number of German diplomats in a tit-for-tat move, although Germany did not immediately confirm any expulsions of its own, APA reports citing RIA.

Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency said, without citing a source, that Germany was expelling more than 20 Russian diplomats.

A German Foreign Ministry official said Berlin and Moscow had been in contact about their respective representations in the last few weeks, and that the arrival of a Russian government airplane in Berlin was connected to the issue.

Relations between Russia and Germany, which used to be the biggest buyer of Russian oil and gas, have fallen apart since Moscow sent its armed forces into Ukraine in February 2022 and the West responded with sanctions and with weapons for Ukraine.

"The German authorities have decided on another mass expulsion of employees of Russian diplomatic missions in Germany," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We strongly condemn these actions by Berlin, which continues to demonstratively destroy the entire array of Russian-German relations."

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