Russia announced this Saturday the expulsion of approximately twenty German diplomats of the country in a reciprocal measure following a previous decision taken by Berlin on the Russian diplomatic presence in Germany. “In reaction to the hostile acts of Berlin, the Russian side has decided to take a symmetrical measure with the expulsion of German diplomats from Russia,” according to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry collected by the Interfax agency.
The exact number of diplomats has not been confirmed, but Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharovahas revealed to the Zvezda chain that it is around twenty.
The German Foreign Ministry said it took note of the Russian statements. “The federal government and the Russian side have been in contact in recent weeks on personnel issues in their respective representations abroad,” the German Foreign Ministry told AFP.
“Today’s flight is part of that process,” he added, without specifically mentioning any expulsion of Russian diplomats.
Moscow accused Berlin of “continuing to demonstratively destroy the whole of Russian-German relations.” “As a response to the hostile actions of Berlin, the Russian side has decided to reflect the decision and expel the German diplomats from Russia,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Moscow will also limit the maximum number of employees in German diplomatic missions in the country, and said that the German ambassador, Geza Andreas von Geyr, was notified of the measures on April 5.
rise of espionage
Germany had for years had deep economic ties with Moscow, especially in the energy sector, where it relies on Russian gas.
However, relations have soured since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation in Ukraine, and when Berlin increased its financial and military support for kyiv.
Germany had been criticized for delaying arms delivery to kyiv and for its reluctance to allow German-made Leopard tanks to be sent to Ukraine.
In January it finally agreed to allow the shipment of weapons and promised to deliver some of the most modern of its arsenals.
The Kremlin said that Western tanks would “burn”.
The German security service also raised the alert level regarding Russian espionage, which it said had reached unprecedented levels. after what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine.
Russia is targeting German companies and strategic infrastructure, especially in the energy, rail and highway sectors.
Early last year, Germany expelled 40 Russian diplomats it believed posed a security threat.
In October, the German cybersecurity chief, Arne Schoenbohm, was ousted following allegations that he had links to Russian intelligence services.
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