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Russia Expels European Diplomats in Tit-for-Tat Move

Russia Expels European Diplomats in Tit-for-Tat Move

Wednesday, 18 May, 2022 - 11:45
A general view on the headquarters of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia April 29, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Twenty-seven Spanish diplomats must leave Russia within a week, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.


Spain said in April it would expel some 25 Russian diplomats and embassy staff from Madrid, joining other European Union countries that have ordered Russian officials to leave.


Russia's decision to expel Italian diplomats is an "hostile act", Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday, warning diplomatic channels with Moscow must not be interrupted.


Russia will expel 24 Italian diplomats in a retaliatory move, news agency RIA cited the foreign ministry as saying.


"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," Draghi said.


France also condemns Russia's decision to expel diplomats and staff from the French Embassy in Moscow, said the French Foreign Affairs Ministry.


Russia's Foreign Ministry had said earlier on Wednesday that it was expelling 34 French diplomats.


France in April kicked out 35 Russians with diplomatic status as part of a broader wave of expulsions that saw more than 300 Russians sent home from European capitals.


Russia's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was expelling two diplomats from the Finnish embassy in Moscow.


In a statement, it also said it protested against what it said was "Finland's confrontational course towards Russia", apparently referring to Finland's bid to join NATO.


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