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2021-02-08 16:48:08 | Germany, Sweden and Poland Expel Russian Diplomats in Retaliatory Move

2021-02-08 16:48:08 | Germany, Sweden and Poland Expel Russian Diplomats in Retaliatory Move

Story by: Melissa Eddy and Megan SpeciaThe New York Times World News

BERLIN — Germany, Poland and Sweden announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats from their countries on Monday in retaliation for the recent ejection by the Kremlin of envoys from the three European Union nations last week, heightening tensions between the bloc and Moscow after the jailing of the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny.

In a coordinated series of announcements, the three nations all announced the move Monday afternoon.

Germany declared a Russian diplomat no longer welcome, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said. “With this step, the German government is reacting to a decision by the Russian Federation from Friday,” the ministry said, repeating its position that the Russian move “was in no way justified.”

Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, wrote in a post on Twitter, “We have informed the Russian ambassador that a person from the Russian Embassy is asked to leave Sweden.”

“This is a clear response to the unacceptable decision to expel a Swedish diplomat who was only preforming his duties,” she added.

And the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a similar post, “in response to the unjustified expulsion of the Polish diplomat” by Russia, that it had made the decision, “in accordance with the principle of reciprocity” and in coordination with Germany and Sweden, to “recognize an employee of the Consulate General in Poznan as persona non grata.”

The coordinated move came after the Kremlin on Friday pushed out diplomats from the three countries while the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles, was visiting Moscow, saying that the three envoys had attended unauthorized pro-Navalny rallies on Jan. 23.

Mr. Borrell Fontelles, after returning from what he called a “very complicated” visit to Moscow, said in a statement that he had visited to “test, through principled diplomacy, whether the Russian government was interested in addressing differences and reversing the negative trend in our relations.” He added, “The reaction I received points visibly in a different direction.”

Mr. Navalny was sentenced last week to two years and eight months in prison for violating his parole, a conviction that Europe’s top human rights court later ruled was politically motivated.

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Source References:The New York Times World News

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