Moscow orders 31 more European diplomats to leave

TEHRAN, Apr. 20 (MNA) – Russia’s foreign ministry orders 31 European diplomats to leave the country in a reciprocal move sparked by its military operation in Ukraine.

The Russian foreign ministry declared 15 diplomats from the Netherlands “persona non grata” and gave them two weeks to leave, Inquire Net reported.

Moscow gave the same deadline to the embassy staff of Belgium for its decision to kick out 21 Russian envoys last month.

Belgium’s foreign ministry told AFP the measure targeted 12 diplomats.

Moscow also gave four Austrian diplomats until Sunday to leave, underscoring a break in relations with a country that had been relative neutral since the Cold War.

Belgium called Russia’s decision “totally unjustified and unfounded” and regretted a measure that increases “Russia’s international diplomatic isolation”.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said, “We are now going to see what consequences will arise from the fact that so many colleagues have to leave Moscow and Saint Petersburg.”

Moscow’s announcement came a week after Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer became the first European leader to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin since the Kremlin launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24.

RHM/PR

News Code 185911

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