June 1, 2023

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Russia expels 34 French ambassadors, symbol of stalemate in talks between Putin and Macron

The answer was expected. It took a little longer than usual, as a sign of a certain high workload of Russian diplomacy in the context of the “special operation” in Ukraine. On Wednesday, May 18, Moscow announced the expulsion of dozens of European ambassadors stationed in RussiaIn retaliation, a month and a half ago, Russian ambassadors were sent by European capitals.

The French, Spanish and Italian ambassadors, who were summoned one after another to Smolensk Square, the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, announced the evacuations: 34 to France, 27 to Spain and 24 to Italy. Each time, these figures are slightly lower than the Russians expelled in early April. At that time, in part “European approach”Paris has demanded the release of 41 Russian diplomats accused of spying.

On Wednesday, Kwai D’Orsay protested the eviction “Without any legal basis” Of his own diplomats, he points out the difference in motivation between these actions: “The work of diplomats and staff of our embassy in Russia, by contrast, is fully within the framework of the Vienna Conference on Diplomatic and Diplomatic Relations.”, Underscores French diplomacy. Rome was also mentioned by the chairman of the council, Mario Draghi. “Hostile action”. A formula that French leaders were careful not to use.

For its part, Moscow condemned “Provocative and unsubstantiated decision by French authorities” Warned that Russian ambassadors should be expelled “Serious damage to Russian-French relations, as well as constructive bilateral cooperation”.

The most affected economic service

Many European countries, such as Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, Greece or Croatia, have massively expelled Russian diplomats since the start of the offensive in Ukraine on February 24 – expulsions and, in some cases, allegations of espionage.

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In all, more than 300 people in the European Union and Washington were concerned about the combined results. Moscow has promised to respond to each of these actions, and dozens of Western diplomats have already been expelled from Russia.

read more: The article is reserved for our subscribers War in Ukraine: France and Germany expel dozens of Russian ambassadors

The work of the French embassy in Moscow is likely to suffer, although diplomats insist there is time to prepare for this decision. The move, announced to Ambassador Pierre Lévy, concerns about a third of the embassy staff stationed in Moscow. The persons concerned have fifteen days to leave Russia. A second wave may occur after a while.

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