Moscow said on Wednesday it was expelling 34 “French diplomatic mission personnel” in a tit-for-tat move following the expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of a joint European move against Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.
Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that “34 members of the French diplomatic mission in Russia have been declared impersonal” and that they had two weeks to leave the country.
Moscow made the announcement after summoning French Ambassador to Russia Pierre Levy and calling the expulsion of 41 members of Russia’s diplomatic mission a “provocative and baseless decision,” the statement said.
“It is important to note that this is not the case in Russia,” he said.
France has “strongly condemned” the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the Paris Foreign Ministry has said.
The ministry said in a statement that there was “no legal basis” for the move, adding that “the work of the diplomats and staff of the embassy in Russia (France) is carried out entirely within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.”
Paris, on the other hand, expelled Russian workers in April on suspicion of spying.
French President Emmanuel Macron initially led the Kremlin’s diplomatic outreach on Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have stalled, and French military aid to Ukraine has increased in recent months.
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