Moscow is expelling European diplomats in a quid pro quo move after the EU coordinated action of declaring non-grata of Russians from embassies in Europe in a “solidarity” gesture upon the request of the UK Prime Minister Theresa May in a response to “highly likely” Russia being behind a murder attempt of a double agent Sergei Skripal.
The EU diplomats are given different terms to leave Moscow, dependent on the time-table imposed on Russians in their countries.
According to the statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Italian embassy’s charge d’affaires to announce the expulsion of two diplomats who are requested to leave Russia within a week.
One diplomat from Finnish Embassy, according to the officials has to leave Moscow.“Mikko Hautala, Ambassador of Finland to Russia, was notified of the matter by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on 30 March in Moscow,” the ministry said, adding that the diplomat must leave Russia in two weeks.
Russia is also expelling four diplomats Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Polish Ambassador to Moscow Wlodzimierz Marciniak to notify him that four Polish diplomas had been declared personae non grata and must leave Russia before April 7, 2018.
One diplomat has been expelled from Moscow Latvian news agency LETA reported, quoting Press Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gints Jegermanis.
“…Latvian diplomat will have to leave Russia before the evening of April 6,” he said. The press secretary did not specify the diplomat’s name and position, but affirmed that it is not ambassador Maris Riekstins.
Russia has also expelled Estonia military attache according Delfi news portal.
The declaration of non-gratae to EU diplomatis is declared as Moscow symmetrical answer to member-states coordinated decision to declare Russians non-gratae in expression of solidarity with the UK as a demonstration of displeasure with the alleged poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier denied any involvement in #Skripals poisoning.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that symmetrical measures would be taken against all the countries that had expelled Russian diplomats.