Russia has declared 40 German diplomatic mission staff ‘persona non grata’ in response to an earlier move by Berlin ousting Russian diplomats over the conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that it has summoned Germany’s ambassador in Moscow and handed him an official note declaring Moscow’s decision to expel the German diplomats “as part of a symmetrical response.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has ordered the expulsion of three Swedish diplomats in retaliation for a similar move taken by Stockholm over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The step was taken in response to the expulsion of three Russian diplomats from Stockholm and Sweden’s military support for Ukraine.
The Russian ministry also accused Sweden of covering up the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists against the civilian population of Donbass, Ukraine’s Russian-speaking region.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that a total of four diplomats, three from the embassy in Moscow and another at the Swedish consulate in Saint Petersburg, had been expelled.
However, she claimed the Swedish diplomats expelled had conducted traditional diplomatic activities. Sweden will respond in an appropriate manner to Russia’s unwarranted and disproportionate actions?
In recent weeks, tensions between Russia and Europe over the Ukraine crisis have taken a new turn, with Europe announcing the expulsion of Russian diplomats and Moscow warning the move will worsen ties.
On April 4, Germany said it was expelling 40 Russian diplomats, amid similar moves by other European states, over Moscow’s military counter operation in Ukraine.
Russia has already ordered 31 European diplomats to leave the country in a reciprocal move sparked by its military operation in Ukraine.
The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow.
Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if the Kiev junta meets Moscow’s list of demands, including never applying to join NATO.
In early April, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, and a number of other European countries expelled a total of more than 70 Russian diplomats.
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a ceasefire in Ukraine at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Russian capital, Moscow.
PressTV / ABC Flash Point News 2022.