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In tit for tat move, Russia announces expulsion of 40 German diplomats

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Moscow said it is expelling 40 German diplomats in response to Berlin’s “hostile decision” to expel Russian diplomats in connection with the conflict in Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Monday that it had summoned the German ambassador to Moscow. and gave him a note “declaring persona non grata 40 employees of German diplomatic institutions in Russia in the context of asymmetric response”.

” A strong protest was made to the head of the German diplomatic mission in Moscow regarding the overtly hostile decision of the German government” to deport Russian diplomats, the ministry said.

In all, more than 100 Germans are likely to be affected by the ministry’s decision, as the diplomats’ relatives are also forced to leave the country.

Germany’s Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, said in a statement that the move was “expected” but “unjustified”.

She said that the 40 Russian diplomats previously deported by Berlin “did not serve diplomacy one day,” while those expelled by Russia “did nothing wrong”.

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Earlier this month, Germany said it was expelling a “substantial number” of Russian diplomats, amid similar measures taken by other European states, over Ukraine.

The German foreign minister at the time said that the decision followed the “unbelievable brutality” of the Russian forces that invaded its pro-Western neighbour, Ukraine.

She also described the Russian deportees as spies that had “worked every day here in Germany against our freedom, against the cohesion of our society”, and added that their work was “a menace for those seeking protection in our country”.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has described Baerbock’s remarks as “unacceptable”.

It added that the Berlin decision was “based on an absolutely false claim that the work of the aforementioned employees was intended to infringe on “Germany’s freedom” and “the unity of German society”, along with innuendo about what is happening in Ukraine”.

Photo: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock | Pooled photo by Maxim Shemetov/ AFP via Getty Images

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