Russia announces the “mutual” expulsion of more than 20 German diplomats – RIA Agency

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that Moscow had expelled more than 20 German diplomats, Russia’s Novosti news agency reported, while Berlin said some Russian diplomats had left Germany.

A German Foreign Ministry official said Berlin and Moscow had been in contact about each other’s representation in the past few weeks with the aim of reducing the presence of Russian intelligence in Germany.

“The departure of the Russian embassy staff today is related to this,” the official said. The German ministry refused to disclose the number of Russian diplomats who left.

Relations between Russia and Germany, which were previously the largest buyer of Russian oil and gas, have collapsed since Moscow sent its armed forces to Ukraine in February 2022, and the West responded by imposing sanctions and weapons on Ukraine.

Commenting on the German expulsions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “We strongly condemn these actions of Berlin, which clearly continue to destroy the entire range of Russian-German relations.”

It said its expulsions were “mutual”, and that it would significantly limit the maximum number of staff at German diplomatic missions.

It added that the German ambassador had been informed of these steps in talks on April 5.

German daily Bild reported that 34 of the 90 German diplomats remaining in Moscow had been asked to leave Russia.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin. Editing by Jason Neely

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