Russia expels five Portuguese diplomats to Moscow

Russia expelled five members of the Portuguese embassy in Moscow, reported SIC Notícias and confirmed the government in the meantime. These representatives now have 14 days to leave Russia. The diplomatic corps of the Portuguese Embassy in the country is reduced to six elements, a number that allows diplomatic channels between the two countries to continue to operate.

The Portuguese Foreign Ministry has already reacted to the Russian decision. “The Portuguese government repudiated the decision of the Russian authorities, which did not any justification other than mere retaliation,” the statement read.unlike the Russian civil servants expelled from Portugal, these national civil servants took strictly carry out its activitiesand diplomaticin full respect of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” he adds.

In April, Portugal joined other European countries and expelled ten Russian officials from the embassy in Lisbonstressing that they would carry out “activities contrary to national security”. According to António Costa, none of these people was a “career diplomat”. They had two weeks to leave the country.

This Wednesday, Moscow announced the expulsion of a hundred diplomats and officials from the embassies of France (34), Italy (41) and Spain (27), now considered “persona non grata” by Moscow. According to Reuters, the French diplomatic corps now has two weeks to leave the country and Spanish diplomats only seven days.

Like Portugal, these three European Union countries had already decided to expel dozens of Russian diplomats, citing national security reasons. At the time, Moscow lost 41 employees in Paris and summoned the French ambassador, Pierre Lévy, to tell him that the decision was “provocative and baseless”.

The Russian reprisals were “strongly condemned” by the French foreign ministry, guaranteeing that the decision “has no legitimate justification”.

The Russian government has also told Spain’s ambassador to Russia, Marcos Gomez Martinez, that Madrid’s decision “would have a negative impact” on relations between the two countries. Now Spain has responded with: “The Russian authorities justify the decision with a question of reciprocity, given the expulsion of 27 Russian diplomats in April. But this expulsion was taken on the basis of security reasons, which in this case do not exist.

In the case of Italy, the reaction was made by the Prime Minister. At a press conference, Mario Draghi condemned this “hostile act” by Moscow, but stressed that diplomatic channels between the two countries should remain open. “It is through these channels that, if possible, peace [na Ucrânia] will be reached. That’s what we want,” Draghi said.

On Tuesday, Russia expelled two more employees of the Finnish embassy. At the beginning of April, more than 260 Russian diplomats had already been expelled by European countries since the start of the war in Ukraine, according to a count made by AFP.

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