Baltic countries expel 10 Russian diplomats

Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Friday announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, following in the steps of Bulgaria.

“Latvia expels three Russian Embassy employees in connection with activities that are contrary to their diplomatic status and taking into account ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted.

“The decision has been coordinated with Lithuania and Estonia,” he added.

Estonia’s foreign ministry said it had declared three Russian diplomats persona non grata for breaching international conventions on diplomatic ties.

“All three have directly and actively undermined Estonia’s security and spread propaganda justifying Russia’s military action,” it said in a statement.

Lithuania meanwhile announced that it had expelled four Russian diplomats.

“Russia’s military attacks on civilians, civilian objects, hospitals, schools, maternity wards, and cultural objects are war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said.

“Russian special services are actively involved in organizing these crimes against the peaceful population of Ukraine, so we do not want the representatives of these structures to walk on our land and pose a threat to Lithuania’s national security.”

Earlier Friday, fellow EU member Bulgaria’s foreign ministry announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats.

It said they had breached international conventions on diplomatic ties, a formulation often used by the ministry to designate espionage.

Sofia had already expelled two Russian diplomats earlier this month for similar reasons.

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