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Ukraine: several European countries expel Russian diplomats accused of espionage

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Ireland announced on Tuesday to expel four Russian diplomats on the grounds that their activities “do not correspond to international standards of diplomatic behavior”. Belgium announced in the wake of expelling 21 Russian diplomats for espionage, as did the Netherlands, which is sending 17 Russian officers back.

Cascading evictions. Ireland announced on Tuesday to expel four Russian diplomats on the grounds that their activities “do not correspond to international standards of diplomatic behavior”. Belgium announced in the process to expel 21 Russian diplomats for espionage. Poland got the ball rolling a week ago by expelling 45 diplomats for the same reason.

The Russian ambassador in Dublin has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry to be told that “four high-ranking officials have been asked to leave the country,” Irish diplomacy said in a statement. Dublin says it wants to “keep the diplomatic channels open”, deeming this “important in the context of conveying our firm views on the war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which we consider to be a serious violation of the law international”.

Ireland is a member of the European Union, which has sanctioned Russia since its invasion of Ukraine began more than a month ago. Dublin, however, refused to supply lethal weapons directly to Ukraine, citing its military neutrality.

“Espionage operations threatening national security”

Belgium has decided to expel 21 people working for the Russian embassy and consulate who are suspected of involvement “in espionage and influence operations threatening national security”, the head of diplomacy announced on Tuesday. Belgian Sophie Wilmès.

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The Minister relayed on her Twitter account an announcement just made before a committee of the Belgian Parliament, where she specified that the persons concerned must leave Belgian territory within 15 days.

The Netherlands will expel 17 Russian intelligence officers who were engaged in “secret” espionage activities, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. The Hague took this decision on the basis of information from the Dutch intelligence services according to which the persons concerned, “accredited as diplomats at the Russian representations in the Netherlands, are secretly active as intelligence officers”, the ministry said in a statement.

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