EU condemns expelling of three European diplomats from Russia

Ukrainian News
Canan Kevser
05 February 2021, 20:30
Canan Kevser
05 February 2021, 20:30

The European Union has called on Russia to reconsider its decision to expel three diplomats from Russia.

This is according to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell.

Russia said that it had expelled diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden amid claims they took part in pro-Alexei Navalny protests.

Russia's foreign ministry said they took part in illegal demonstrations in support of the Kremlin critic Navalny on January 23.

It said their actions in attending protests in Moscow and Saint Petersburg "were unacceptable and incompatible with their diplomatic status".

Peter Stano, the spokesperson for High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, made a statement on the issue.

"During the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Josep Borrell learned that three European diplomats are going to be expelled from Russia. The HRVP strongly condemned this news and rejected the allegations that they participated in demonstrations," Stano said in a statement.

According to the statement, Borrell stressed the EU's unity and solidarity with the Member States concerned.

"I reject the allegations that these diplomats were performing activities incompatible with their role as diplomats. This decision has to be reconsidered. All European member states are united against it," Borrell said.

The move has also condemned by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as "unjustified".

Sweden said on Friday that Moscow's decision to expel one of its diplomats was "completely unfounded," refuting Russian accusations that he had taken part in a pro-Navalny demonstration.

Background

Russian opposition leader Navalny was jailed on his return to Russia after recovering from an attempt to kill him with a nerve agent. He blames the Russian security services for the attack but the Kremlin denies this.

He has denounced his detention as "blatantly illegal", saying the authorities had allowed him to travel to Berlin for treatment for the Novichok poisoning, which happened in Russia last August.

Tens of thousands took to the streets across Russia to protest. During the demonstrations called -unauthorised" by Russia, some 11,000 people were detained by security forces over the previous two weekends.