Germany has carried out a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats. In response, 34 German diplomats are to leave Moscow.
Photo: The Russian Embassy in Berlin/gettyimages
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reported that the German authorities have decided to expel Russian diplomats en masse. The statement was published on the ministry’s website on April 22.
“We strongly condemn these actions of Berlin, which continue to demonstratively destroy the entire array of Russian-German relations, including their diplomatic dimension. It is significant that the German side, despite its repeated assurances of unwillingness to publicize this story, violated them by informing the media about its prank, which it regularly uses to organize “controlled leaks” and disinformation “stuffing,” the ministry said.
In response, Moscow announced a “mirror” expulsion of German diplomats from Russia, as well as a significant restriction on the maximum number of employees of German diplomatic missions in Russia. According to the statement, German Ambassador Géza Andreas von Geyr was officially informed of the decision on April 5.
According to Bild, 34 of the 90 German diplomats still in Moscow will have to leave Russia.
Deutsche Welle, citing a statement by a spokesman for the German Air Force to the DPA news agency, writes that on April 22, a plane with a special diplomatic permit took off from Moscow to Berlin. The Russian Il-96-300 landed in the German capital at about 9 a.m. And according to Flightradar24, three hours later, the plane left the Berlin airport and returned to Russia.
“A competent source confirmed this information to DW and noted that it was not a regular passenger flight, which falls within the competence of the civilian airport BER,” the journalists said, adding that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the EU has closed its airspace to Russian carriers, so “the plane from Russia is an extraordinary event.”
As reported earlier in March, Germany was considering expelling more than 30 Russian diplomats from the country. According to media reports, German security authorities have concluded that Russian representatives may use their diplomatic immunity to recruit informants for the purpose of sabotage or spreading disinformation.
In April 2022, Germany declared 40 Russian diplomats persona non grata, and in response, Russia expelled 40 German diplomats.
The expulsion of Russian diplomats is becoming an increasingly “popular” measure of protection against Russian subversion. Finland’s successes in reducing Russian agent influence were reported earlier. According to the head of The Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (SUPO), “The Russian intelligence station shrank to about half of its former size last year. The main reason for this decline was the expulsion of intelligence officers and visa refusals on the advice of SUPO”.