The expulsion of these European diplomats followed moves taken by foreign embassies during unauthorised protests in Moscow earlier this month, the presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
"The diplomats' expulsion, which happened just recently, is a consequence of the actions that some of the foreign embassies in Moscow implemented amid the unauthorised rallies. The Russian side clearly showed it has no intention to tolerate this," Peskov told reporters.
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow was left with no choice but to expel the diplomats since they were meddling in Russia’s domestic affairs by attending the unauthorised rallies.
These rallies took place across Russia on 23 January, 31 January and 2 February in support of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who was detained at the airport on 17 January upon arrival in Moscow from Germany, where he was treated for alleged poisoning.
On Chances to Restore Relations With Brussels
Moscow is interested in restoring relations with Brussels, Peskov said.
"Russia was and is interested in restoring relations between Moscow and Brussels. We are truly interested in this and we were not the initiators of the rupture of these relations," Peskov told reporters.
The countries should take into account one another's interests, the spokesman added.
"We believe that it is necessary for building relations. We are strongly against interference in one another's interests," Peskov said.