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In a move which analytics have termed as ‘expected’, Russia has openly expelled 10 Romanian diplomats, as well as a Bulgarian, in retaliation for a similar move by the two countries following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The Romanian foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday that “the Russian Federation declared 10 employees of the Romanian embassy in Moscow persona non grata”.
The expulsion was also confirmed by Moscow and follows the April 5 expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats “whose activities breached the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”, according to the Romanian foreign ministry.
The Russian foreign ministry also said on Friday it “firmly rejects the groundless attempts by the Romanian side to blame Russia for war crimes in Ukraine”. It had also slammed “Bucharest’s policy of whitewashing the atrocities committed by [Ukraine’s] national guard against civilians as well as the supply of weapons, equipment and other assistance to the regime in Kyiv”.
Romania summoned the Russian ambassador to Bucharest Valery Kuzmin on Thursday to protest an article published on the Russian embassy website, that said “a stream of outright lies, falsifications, staged provocations, and disinformation” about what was happening in Ukraine was “created and financed by the collective West”.
“The repeated use by the Russian mission of inappropriate, offensive and provocative language directed at Romania and NATO is unacceptable,” the ministry said.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Western countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats.
Moscow has promised to respond to each of these measures and has already expelled dozens of Western diplomats.