WARSAW, (BM) – Within a week, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs ordered three employees of the Slovak embassy, two employees of the Lithuanian embassy. One each – embassies of Latvia and Estonia to leave the country. The Russian ministry announced this in a press release released on Wednesday, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
Earlier on Wednesday, representatives of the diplomatic missions of four countries in Moscow were summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that diplomats received “a firm protest over provocative and unjustified actions concerning the expulsion of employees of the Russian embassies in these countries.”
The three Baltic states, the ministry added, “continue to pursue an openly hostile course” towards Russia.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs points out that “the employees of the Lithuanian embassy expelled from Russia have never acted inconsistently with their diplomatic obligations.” Vilnius hopes that “Russia will change the direction of its aggressive foreign policy, will stop blaming other countries for the escalation of the situation, and finally hear signals from the Western community.”
Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Slovakia considered Russian diplomats undesirable in a gesture of solidarity with the Czech Republic. On April 18, Prague ordered the departure of representatives of Russia who – according to the Czech authorities – worked for the Russian secret services. In reaction, Moscow ordered 20 Czechs to leave.
At the same time, the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, announced on Wednesday that the Russian government would soon draw up a list of “hostile countries” towards Moscow. In an interview with the RIA agency, Novosti also assured that there are “specific criteria” that the government is guided by when establishing this list.
“You won’t have to wait long for the list,” said the minister. He mentioned that the government “has specific recommendations” on this matter and that the criteria by which it is guided “are understandable.” Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the United States would be on the list of “hostile countries.”
According to the “Izvestia” daily, the list may also include Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia). The newspaper cites a source in Russian state structures. The second such source did not exclude the possibility that the list will also include Great Britain, Canada, Ukraine, and Australia.
On April 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Russia’s response to “hostile actions by other countries,” which restricts the possibility of employing Russian citizens by embassies and consulates of such countries. Putin ordered the Russian government to define the list of “hostile” countries.
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