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Russia announces “reciprocal” expulsion of German diplomats | News

A foreign ministry official said “more than 20” German diplomats would have to leave Russia, state media reported.

Russia announced the tit-for-tat expulsion of more than 20 German diplomats after Russian embassy staff left the country on a “massive scale” and accused Berlin of sabotaging relations, state media said.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told state TV Zvezda on Saturday that “more than 20” German diplomats would have to leave.

Her statement came shortly after the Foreign Office condemned “yet another mass expulsion of employees of the Russian diplomatic mission in Germany”.

Germany’s foreign ministry said it had taken note of Russia’s statement.

“The federal government and the Russian side have been [in] In recent weeks there have been contacts on personnel issues at the respective foreign missions,” the German foreign ministry told AFP.

“Today’s flight is part of that process,” it said, without specifically mentioning any expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Moscow accused Berlin of “continuing to demonstratively undermine the entirety of Russian-German relations”.

“In response to the hostilities in Berlin, the Russian side decided to follow suit by expelling German diplomats from Russia,” the foreign ministry said.

Moscow will also limit the maximum number of employees of Germany’s diplomatic missions in the country, saying the German ambassador, Geza Andreas von Geyr, had been informed of the measures on April 5.

Germany has enjoyed deep economic ties with Moscow for years, especially in its energy sector, which relies on Russian natural gas.

relationship deterioration

However, relations between the two countries have soured since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched military operations in Ukraine and Berlin increased financial and military support for Kiev.

Germany has been criticized for delays in sending weapons to Kiev and for its reluctance to send German-made Panther tanks to Ukraine.

In January, it finally agreed to allow arms deliveries, pledging to ship some of the most modern weapons from its stockpile.

The Kremlin says Western tanks will “burn”.

German security services also raised their alert level on Russian espionage, saying it had reached unprecedented levels following Russia’s so-called special military operation in Ukraine.

It said Russia was targeting German companies and strategic infrastructure, especially energy, railways and roads.

Early last year, Germany expelled 40 Russian diplomats, saying they posed a security threat.

In October, Germany’s cybersecurity chief Arne Schoenbohm was fired after he was accused of having links to Russian intelligence.

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