The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin announced, on Saturday afternoon, that it is aware of Russia’s decision to expel German diplomats. “The German government and the Russian side have been in contact, in recent weeks, in connection with the personnel from the diplomatic missions, with the aim of reducing the presence of the Russian intelligence services on the territory of Germany. The expulsions announced today by the Russian authorities are related to this,” he said. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, according to the station ARD and the website Tagesschau.de.
The Russian Foreign Ministry previously announced the expulsion of “more than 20 German diplomats” in response to a similar action by Germany, according to the daily Le Monde.
“The authorities in Germany have decided on a new mass expulsion of the members of the Russian diplomatic missions in Germany. We vehemently condemn the actions of Berlin, which continue to completely destroy the relations between Russia and Germany,” said Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Saturday from Moscow, quoted by the Tass agency. “As a reaction to the hostile actions of Berlin, the Russian side decided to adopt a symmetrical action and will expel German diplomats from Russia, going to significantly limit the maximum number of employees of the German diplomatic representations in our country”, stated Maria Zaharova.
It is not clear whether the Russian diplomats referred to by Moscow have already been expelled from Germany or are to be expelled, notes the publication Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the German ambassador, Geza Andreas von Geyr, was recently informed about Moscow’s decision.
On Saturday morning, a Russian government plane flew from Moscow to Berlin, for a special mission, after which it returned to Moscow, said sources quoted by Die Welt publication.
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