Russia Expels French and Italian Diplomats

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Russia expels 34 employees of French diplomatic missions in retaliation for the “wrong” French decision to declare 41 Russian diplomats in France an unwanted people.

 

Moscow also expels 24 Italian diplomats.

They must leave Russia within two weeks; the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that the French ambassador had previously called on it. Last month’s French action is seriously damaging relations and cooperation, was the message.

The government in Paris said in a response it strongly condemned the Russian move. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called the expulsion a hostile act. “This must absolutely not lead to a disruption of diplomatic channels because it is through those channels that peace will be achieved if we succeed, and that is certainly what we want,” Draghi said.

European countries expelled more than 300 Russian diplomats in a coordinated action last month, including in response to atrocities committed by the Russian army in Ukraine. In a number of cases, it would be spies.

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