Germany and France expel Russian diplomats with suspected spy-agency links

Germany and France announced plans to expel Moscow envoys on Monday

The Russian embassy in Berlin. AFP

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Germany is expelling 40 staff members at the Russian embassy in Berlin who have suspected links to spy agencies as a first response to the killing of Ukrainian civilians in the town of Bucha.

France is expelling 35 diplomats, Foreign Ministry officials said.

Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Monday that images of the Bucha victims show “the unbelievable brutality of the Russian leadership” and those who follow its propaganda.

Ms Baerbock said there was a fear that similar images might emerge from other areas in Ukraine occupied by Russian troops.

“The federal government has therefore decided today to declare as persona non grata a significant number of members of the Russian embassy who have worked every day against our freedom and against the cohesion of our society here in Germany,” she said.

“We will initiate further measures of response together with our partners. We will further tighten the existing sanctions against Russia.

"We will resolutely increase our support for the Ukrainian armed forces and we will also strengthen Nato’s eastern flank."

The decision comes after Bloomberg News reported last week that Germany was considering expelling a large number of suspected Russian spies.

France said that the Russians who held diplomatic status were being expelled because they were conducting activities “contrary to our security interests".

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow would respond to the expulsions, Interfax reported.

Updated: April 04, 2022, 10:22 PM
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