Due to the restrictions for German civil servants in Russia, four of the five Russian consulates general in Germany are to close by 31 December this year. The Russian side has been officially informed of the decision, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin said on Wednesday, 31 May.
Thus, only the Russian embassy in Berlin and one consulate general will continue to operate in Germany. It was not reported which diplomatic missions will be closed. In addition, the number of Russian officials in Germany will be reduced, reports DW in Berlin.
At the moment in Germany, in addition to the consular section of the Russian embassy in Berlin, there are five Russian consulates general: in Bonn, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, Munich and Leipzig.
Germany will respond with mirror measures to Moscow’s imposition of a ceiling of 350 German civil servants.
The future of German diplomatic institutions in Russia
Spokesman for the German foreign ministry, the Russian authorities have taken another step to escalate tensions by reducing the maximum number of German civil servants in Russia to 350. “And this unjustified decision forces the federal government to make a very significant reduction in its presence in Russia in all areas,” he said.
Germany will reportedly close three German consulates general in Russia – in Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk. Due to restrictions imposed by the Russian side it is not possible to provide consular services in these cities, it was reported further. Thus only the German embassy in Russia, the consulate general in St Petersburg and a small number of staff of the Goethe Institute and the German school in Moscow will continue to operate.
German diplomats leave Russia
Earlier, it was reported that several hundred German civil servants, including diplomats, teachers and other employees of the Goethe Institutes, were forced to leave Russia. Due to the reduced presence of Russian intelligence services in Germany, the Russian Foreign Ministry decided in April to impose an upper limit on the number of employees of German foreign missions and intermediary organisations in Russia. This limit set by Moscow, which will apply from the beginning of June this year, “requires a major reduction in our presence in Russia in all areas,” the German Foreign Ministry explained in response to an enquiry by Süddeutsche Zeitung.
“In connection with this unilateral, unreasonable and incomprehensible decision, it is now important for the German government to ensure a minimum presence in Russia of mediation staff and at the same time maintain its diplomatic presence there,” Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted a German Foreign Ministry representative as saying. “Given this upper limit, concerning the Russian presence in Germany, the German government will see to it that there is a genuine balance,” the ministry added.