After the expulsions by Moscow of their diplomats deemed “unjustified” last Friday, Germany, Sweden and Poland had promised a response. It arrived on Monday, with, in response, the expulsion of Russian diplomats based in their respective territories.
Deportations in every country
This Monday afternoon, Warsaw, Berlin and Stockholm have indeed announced that they will all expel a Russian diplomat stationed in their country.
“This measure is the response of the (German) government to a decision taken on February 5 by the Russian Federation” to expel a German diplomat who was only seeking “to learn by legal means on the evolution of the situation on the ground ”, underlines in a press release the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For its part, the Swedish government “informed the Russian Ambassador that someone from the Embassy had to leave Sweden. It is a clear response to the unacceptable decision to expel a Swedish diplomat who was only carrying out his duties, ”Minister Ann Linde said on Twitter.
Finally, from Warsaw, the Polish ministry announced on Twitter that “in response to the unjustified expulsion of a Polish diplomat, the MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) decided today, in coordination with Germany and the Sweden, to recognize an employee of the Russian Consulate General in Poznan (in the west of the country Editor’s note) as persona non grata ”.
Moscow defends its decision
Before this announcement, Russia had again defended its decision to expel European diplomats. “Russia was and remains interested in relaunching relations between Moscow and Brussels,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. But “the expulsion of diplomats […] is the consequence of the actions undertaken by certain foreign missions in Moscow, in a context of illegal disturbances. Russia has clearly shown that it does not intend to tolerate this, ”he added.
Moscow had accused these German, Polish and Swedish representatives of having participated in an illegal demonstration in support of Alexeï Navalny to justify their expulsion from Russia. An accusation denied by their countries, which ensured that these diplomats were present on the ground as observers.
EU envoy criticizes Russia
As a backdrop to the quarrel: the Alexeï Navalny affair, the main opponent of Vladimir Poutine, imprisoned on his return to Russia after being poisoned. The European Union, which condemns this imprisonment, had also sent its head of diplomacy to Moscow. But on his return, Josep Borrell said he was very worried about the refusal of the Russian authorities to engage in a “more constructive” dialogue with the EU, and called on European leaders to “draw the consequences”, which could include sanctions.
“The Russian authorities did not want to take the opportunity to have a more constructive dialogue with the EU. It is regrettable and we will have to draw the consequences. […] It will be up to the member states to decide on the next steps, and yes, these could include sanctions, ”he said in a message posted on his Twitter account on his return from Moscow.
EU foreign ministers are due to meet on February 22 to draw conclusions from the mission carried out by Josep Borrell from February 4 to 7, and to decide on the follow-up to be given to the Kremlin’s end of inadmissibility against demands of European leaders to release the opponent Alexeï Navalny, and the expulsion of Swedish, German and Polish diplomats during his meeting with the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr