The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday several expulsions of diplomats from the embassies of Spain, Italy, France and Finland, almost a hundred people in response, according to Moscow, to “hostile steps” by the counterpart foreign ministries by doing the same with diplomats Russians in recent months.
Russia’s diplomatic mission in Helsinki protested Tuesday over what it called the unfounded expulsion from Finland of two employees of the Russian Embassy in Helsinki as part of the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions campaign.
Russia informed the Finnish ambassador that, in reaction to these actions of the Finnish authorities, the Russian side made a decision on the unacceptability of the additional stay in the Russian Federation of two employees of the staff of the Finnish Embassy in Moscow.
Also on Wednesday, the French ambassador in Moscow, P. Levy, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to protest in relation to what Russia calls the “provocation and unjustified decision of the French authorities on the announcement of 41 employees of diplomatic institutions Russians in France as ‘persona non grata'”.
According to Moscow “this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation.” In response, 34 employees of French diplomatic institutions in Russia have been declared persona non grata. They were ordered to leave the territory of Russia within two weeks from the date of delivery of the note to the ambassador.
On the same day, Russia protested to the Spanish ambassador in Moscow, Marcos Gómez Martínez, and informed him of the expulsion of 27 employees of its diplomatic institutions in the European country in response to the expulsion of personnel from the Russian mission in Spain.
A similar action took place with the Italian representation in the Russian capital, in this case the number of expelled reached the figure of 24 officials.
Since before the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, last February, Moscow and Western capitals and other allied countries of the United States have been denouncing actions that are unfriendly or incompatible with the diplomatic function and there have been, in both cases, waves of expulsions of civil servants.