Moscow announced on Wednesday that it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of a joint European action against the Russian campaign in Ukraine. .
“Thirty-four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that they had two weeks to leave the country.
Moscow made the announcement after summoning the French ambassador to Russia, Pierre Lévy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, according to the press release.
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“It has been pointed out that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.
France “strongly condemns” the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, indicated for its part the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris.
Stating that this measure had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statement that “the work of diplomats and staff of [France’s] embassy in Russia (…) falls fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
On the other hand, Paris expelled the Russian general staff in April, suspected of being spies.
French President Emmanuel Macron initially conducted diplomatic contacts with the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin eventually waned and overt French military support for Ukraine increased these last months.
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