Today, Friday, Russia intensified its diplomatic expulsions and announced that 18 diplomats from the European Union (EU) would be considered “personas non grata” in the country.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was taking such steps after 19 Russian diplomats to the EU and the European Atomic Energy Community were expelled.
“The Russian side declared the responsibility of the EU for the constant destruction of the architecture of dialogue and bilateral cooperation created for decades. The need for strict observance by the EU of the requirements of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was indicated,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The statement did not specify the timing of the evictions, saying only that they would be leaving “in the near future.”
The EU condemned the move. “The European Union deplores the unjustified and groundless decision of the Russian Federation to expel 18 members of the European Union Delegation to the Russian Federation. The EU diplomats in question perform their duties within the framework of and in full respect of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” said Peter Stano, the EU’s chief spokesman for foreign affairs.
Russia and several EU countries have traded diplomatic expulsions this month amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.