Russia expels 10 diplomats from Baltic states in tit-for-tat move

Moscow retaliates less than two weeks after Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania expelled a total of 10 Russian diplomats.

Russia has announced the expulsion of 10 diplomats from the three Baltic states in a tit-for-tat response, including three diplomats each from Estonia and Latvia, and four from Lithuania.

The move came on Tuesday, less than two weeks after the three Baltic nations expelled a total of 10 Russian diplomats in a coordinated action earlier this month.

Latvia said the Russian diplomats’ activities had been at odds with their diplomatic status and that the decision to expel them had also taken into account Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s foreign ministry said in its statement on Tuesday that it had called in the ambassadors of the three countries to complain about what it described as the “provocative” and “groundless” action taken against its diplomats.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were all once part of the Soviet Union and are now members of both NATO and the European Union. They have strongly backed Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine.

On Monday, Russia expelled three Slovak diplomats in a tit-for-tat move after Bratislava expelled three Russian diplomats for espionage earlier this month.

Also on Monday, North Macedonia expelled five Russian diplomats, saying they violated diplomatic norms.

There was a string of similar moves made by the US, Poland and Bulgaria earlier this month.

Exterior view of the Russian Embassy in Riga, Latvia [File: Toms Kalnins/EPA]

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