Germany, Poland, and Sweden today announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats in retaliation for an identical measure decided on Friday by Moscow and in the context of the Navalny case. Russia denounced an “unfounded” and “hostile” measure. The main MEPs in charge of the European Union’s foreign policy, on the other hand, today strongly condemned the expulsion of diplomats from these three countries by the Kremlin, considering the decision “totally unjustified”.
Berlin, Warsaw, and Stockholm will each expel a Russian diplomat on duty in their respective countries, the three capitals announced almost simultaneously.
“This measure is a response from the [German] Government to a decision taken on February 5 by the Russian Federation” to expel a German diplomat who only “sought to obtain legal information on the evolution of the situation on the ground”, he said today in a statement the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Swedish Government, for its part, “informed the Russian ambassador that a person from the embassy should leave Sweden. It is a clear response to the unacceptable decision to expel a Swedish diplomat who was just doing his job, ”said Minister Ann Linde on Twitter.
“In response to the unjustified expulsion of a Polish diplomat, the MNE [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] decided today, in coordination with Germany and Sweden, to recognize as a ‘persona non grata’ an official of the Russian consulate general in Poznan [west] ”, He indicated in a tweet from the Polish ministry.
On Friday, Russia declared ‘persona non grata’ diplomats from Germany, Poland, and Sweden, accusing them of participating in a demonstration in support of opponent Alexei Navalny, an announcement that came on the day of the visit of the head of European diplomacy. Josep Borrell, Moscow.
Diplomats were accused of having participated in “illegal” meetings on January 23 in St. Petersburg and Moscow, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in the statement.
Russia has already reacted. “The decision adopted today by Poland, Germany, and Sweden is unfounded and hostile,” said Maria Zakharova, spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in statements to public television Rossia 1, again denouncing Western “interference” in internal affairs from Russia.
The European Parliament is also monitoring the case. “We strongly condemn the recent decision of the Russian Federation to expel three diplomats from the European Union (EU) – from Germany, Poland, and Sweden, respectively, from the country”, says a statement signed by the chairman of the European Parliament (EP) Committee on Foreign Affairs, David McAllister, the President of the EP delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Committee, Ryszard Czarnecki, and the EP’s permanent rapporteur for Russia, Andrius Kubilius.
Describing the expulsion of diplomats as “totally unjustified”, the three MEPs stress that it is contrary to “the spirit of the Vienna Convention”, which authorizes “explicitly” that diplomats “investigate, using all legal means, the conditions and developments of the State that receives them ”and report them“ to the Government of the State that sent them ”.
“Therefore, we urge the Russian Federation to respect international law and to reverse its decision. If not, it would be just another sign of the Russian Federation’s willingness to disrespect the international commitments it freely assumed ”, they stress.
MEPs also call for “all EU member states” to show “maximum solidarity with Germany, Poland, and Sweden”, taking “the appropriate steps to show the cohesion and strength” of the European Union.
“We also reiterate the EP’s call for a new strategy for relations between the EU and Russia, based on support for civil society, which promotes democratic values, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and human rights”, point.
In this context, MPs “salute the intention” of the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, to dedicate part of the next Foreign Affairs Council, on February 22, to relations with Russia, also stressing that the meeting it should include the “adoption of new sanctions” for the Moscow regime.
The EP, meeting this week in plenary, will discuss on Tuesday the “political turmoil” in Russia, including the arrest of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny and demonstrations in support of it “across the country” with the High Representative of the EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, after his visit to Moscow last week.
During the visit, where the head of European diplomacy met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Kremlin announced the expulsion of diplomats from Germany, Poland, and Sweden from Russia.
Having learned of the decision during his meeting with the Russian minister, Borrell “strongly” condemned the decision to the official and asked him to “reconsider” the decision.
The Russian Government, for its part, considers the diplomats’ actions “unacceptable and incompatible with their diplomatic status”, giving orders for expulsion.
“Russia hopes that, in the future, the diplomatic missions of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Republic of Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany, and their officials, will scrupulously respect the rules of international law,” added the statement.