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Germany, Poland, Sweden expel Russian diplomats in reciprocity

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Germany, Poland and Sweden have expelled an employee of Russia’s embassy in each country, in a coordinated tit-for-tat response to Moscow’s expulsion last week of a German, a Polish and a Swedish diplomat.

The German foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that Russia’s decision to expel diplomats from European Union countries, including one at the German embassy, “was not justified in any way”.

“The Foreign Office today declared ‘persona non grata’ an employee of the Russian embassy in Berlin,” the ministry said in a statement.

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Russia said the diplomats had participated in a demonstration in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, but Germany, as well as Poland and Sweden, disputed this.

“The German diplomat was merely carrying out his task of reporting on developments on the spot in a legal fashion,” the statement read.

Also on Monday, Poland’s foreign ministry said in a tweet that it had asked a worker at the Russian consulate in the western city of Poznan to leave.

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“The Foreign Ministry took the decision today in accordance with the principle of reciprocity and in coordination with Germany and Sweden to recognise an employee of the Consulate General of Russia in Poznan as persona non grata,” the ministry said.

Sweden has also informed Russia that a member of staff from the Russian embassy will be asked to leave Sweden.

“This is a clear response to the unacceptable decision to expel a Swedish diplomat who was only performing his duties,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde tweeted on Monday.—Al Jazeera

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