MOSCOW SAYS THAT 18 members of the EU mission in Russia have been told to leave the country and blamed Brussels for destroying ties.
“Eighteen employees of the EU Delegation to Russia have been declared ‘persona non grata’ and will have to leave the territory of the Russian Federation in the near future,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The measure came after 19 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the EU on 5 April.
The ministry said it summoned Markus Ederer, the EU ambassador to Russia, to inform him of the retaliatory measures.
The statement said the EU bore responsibility for the “consistent destruction of the architecture of bilateral dialogue and cooperation” that had taken “decades” to create.
Western nations have expelled dozens of Russian diplomats amid increasing outrage over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and Russia has said that it will respond to all such expulsions.
The European Union on decried the development as “unjustified”.
“The European Union deplores the unjustified, baseless decision of the Russian Federation to expel 18 members of the Delegation of the European Union to the Russian Federation,” the EU’s diplomatic service said in a statement.
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“There are no grounds for Friday’s decision by the Russian authorities beyond being a pure retaliatory step. Russia’s chosen course of action will further deepen its international isolation,” it said.