Moscow Vows Response as Belgium, The Netherlands, Ireland & Czech Republic Expel Russian Diplomats

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Previously, several European countries declared several Russian diplomats persona non grata, which prompted a harsh response from Moscow.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has vowed to respond to the "unfriendly" steps taken against Russian missions abroad by a number of nations. The statement was made shortly after the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and the Czech Republic decided to expel a number of Russian diplomats.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra announced on Tuesday that the country is ousting 17 Russian diplomats. According to the Dutch authorities, Russia’s ambassador to The Hague was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and informed about the decision.

"The reason for this [decision] is information from the AIVD and MIVD showing that the individuals in question, accredited as diplomats at the Russian Embassy in the Netherlands, are secretly active as intelligence officers", the ministry said.

According to the minister, the diplomats being expelled "pose a security threat" to the Netherlands. The diplomats were given two weeks to leave the country.

"Experience shows that Russia does not leave such measures unanswered. We cannot speculate on that, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is prepared for various scenarios that may occur in the near future", the Dutch foreign minister said in a statement.

Moscow has slammed the move as "arbitrary" and "unfriendly", while the Russian ambassador in the Netherlands revealed that the embassy has been receiving many threats lately.
Shortly thereafter, Belgium also announced the expulsion of 21 Russian diplomats, RTBF broadcaster reported, citing Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes. According to the Foreign Ministry, the diplomats have to leave the country within 15 days.
The Russian diplomatic mission stressed that "this decision deals a serious blow to Russian-Belgian relations and runs counter to the traditions of interaction between the two countries".
"Of course, this unfriendly action of the Belgian side will not go unanswered", the Russian side stressed.
Later, Ireland also announced that four Russian diplomats would be expelled from the country.

"This afternoon, the Department of Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian Ambassador to Iveagh House to advise him that four senior officials have been asked to leave the State", Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in a statement.

The Irish Foreign Ministry told the Russian ambassador that the employees were being expelled "activities incompatible with diplomatic status".
"We consider such a qualification of the work of our diplomats to be absolutely unacceptable, and the decision of the Irish government arbitrary and unreasonable. It can only aggravate the difficult situation in Russian-Irish relations, which have already suffered serious damage due to Ireland's participation in the EU's anti-Russian sanctions. Such a move will not go unanswered", the Russian diplomatic mission said in a statement.
"We consider such a qualification of the work of our diplomats to be absolutely unacceptable, and the decision of the Irish government arbitrary and unreasonable. It can only aggravate the difficult situation in Russian-Irish relations, which have already suffered serious damage due to Ireland's participation in the EU anti-Russian sanctions. The Embassy proceeds from that such a move by the Irish side will not go unanswered," the Russian diplomatic mission said in a statement.
Moments later, the Czech Republic said that it is giving one member of the diplomatic staff at Russia's Embassy in Prague 72 hours to leave the country.
"(The person) was requested to leave Czechia within 72 hours. Together with our Allies, we are reducing the Russian intelligence presence in the EU", the ministry tweeted.
Previously, Bulgaria and Slovakia decided to expel Russian diplomats on suspicion of espionage. Both countries claimed that the diplomats were engaged in "activities incompatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations". However, they did not clarify the exact part of the convention that was allegedly breached.
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