Russia expels diplomats from six countries
Russia is expelling two Italian diplomats as a tit-for-tat response to Rome’s expulsion of Russian diplomats, the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday, TASS reports.
According to the statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Italian embassy’s charge d'affaires earlier on Friday to announce the expulsion of two diplomatic workers who will have to leave Russia within a week.
Russia has also notified Finland of its decision to expel one diplomat from the Finnish embassy in Moscow, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said.
"Mikko Hautala, Ambassador of Finland to Russia, was notified of the matter by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on 30 March in Moscow," the ministry said, adding that the diplomat must leave Russia in two weeks.
Three Lithuanian diplomats are expelled from Russia in Moscow’s retaliatory move, Lithuanian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Rasa Jakilaitene told the media.
"Russia has declared the expulsion of three diplomats from the embassy in Moscow," she said. The decision was handed to the ambassador in Russia, Remigijus Motuzas.
Russia is also expelling four Polish diplomats as a tit-for-tat response to Warsaw’s expulsion of Russian diplomats, Poland’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Polish Ambassador to Moscow Wlodzimierz Marciniak to notify him that four Polish diplomas had been declared personae non grata and must leave Russia before April 7, 2018.
One Latvian diplomat has also been expelled from Russia in response to the decision to eject Russian diplomats, Latvian news agency LETA reported, quoting Press Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gints Jegermanis.
"Our temporary authorized secretary was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday, where he was informed that one Latvian diplomat will have to leave Russia before the evening of April 6," he said. The press secretary did not specify the diplomat’s name and position, but affirmed that it is not ambassador Maris Riekstins.
Russia has also expelled Estonia’s military attache as a tit-for-tat measure to the expulsion of Russian diplomats, Delfi news portal said.
In late March, a number of countries announced a coordinated decision to expel Russian diplomats expressing solidarity with Great Britain in connection with the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier on Friday summoned the ambassadors of the countries, which expelled Russian diplomats to express solidarity with the United Kingdom in connection with the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that tit-for-tat measures would be taken against all the countries that had expelled Russian diplomats.