Italy, Denmark, Sweden expel Russian diplomats – POLITICO

Italy is to expel 30 Russian diplomats, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced on Tuesday during a visit to Berlin.

He called the move was made “for reasons of national security.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the state news agency TASS that there would be a reaction from Moscow to the expulsions, without giving details.

Also on Tuesday was Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted: “Denmark will expel 15 Russian intelligence officers working at the Russian embassy in Copenhagen. They pose a threat to our national security. It is in our mutual interest to maintain diplomatic relations, but we will not accept Russian espionage on Danish soil.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde announced at a press conference on Tuesday that the country would also expel three Russian diplomats for “not acting in accordance with the Vienna Convention and conducting illegal intelligence activities in Sweden”.

Linde did not rule out sending more diplomats back to Moscow, but said such a decision would need to be considered in light of Sweden’s interests in keeping diplomats in Russia.

Italy, Denmark and Sweden are the latest European countries to expel Russian diplomats. On Monday, the German government took a similar step, sending 40 diplomats back to Moscow, while France fired 35 diplomats for saying their activities were “against our national interests.”

France’s EU Minister Clément Beaune said on Tuesday that the deportations had “already been discussed and examined” in consultation with other countries, including Germany, but it was “not only directly related to it [the atrocities committed by Russian troops in] Bucha.”

Beaune added that “in some territories people are portrayed as diplomats who threaten or may threaten our essential interests”.

Lithuania, meanwhile, expelled Russia’s ambassador from Vilnius on Monday remind his chief envoy in Moscow, while Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs announced that his country will “intensify diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation” but that details will be released “once internal procedures are completed”.

Giorgio Leali and Victor Jack contributed to the coverage. Italy, Denmark, Sweden expel Russian diplomats – POLITICO

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