Four EU states expel Russian diplomats

The Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Ireland have all announced that they are expelling a number of Russian diplomats.

The Russian ambassador in Amsterdam was summoned to the Dutch Foreign Ministry on Tuesday and was informed that 17 Russian diplomats were being expelled because they had engaged in espionage-related activities, Dutch public radio reported.

Belgium, likewise, announced that 21 Russian diplomats were being expelled for participating in “espionage and influence operations that threaten the security of the country”. According to Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, "this decision is not a sanction, it is solely related to our national security." 

"Diplomatic channels with Russia remain open, the Russian Embassy can continue to function, and we continue to advocate dialogue," Wilmes added.

The Irish Foreign Ministry similarly declared four high-ranking Russian officials persona non grata. "This afternoon, the Russian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, he was informed that four high-ranking Russian officials should leave the country," the Irish Foreign Ministry noted in a statement.

The Czech Foreign Ministry also declared that one Russian diplomat in Prague had been declared persona non grata.

Last week, Poland announced that 45 Russian diplomats had been expelled.

  Russia, EU