Germany expels 40 Russian diplomats in response to massacre in Ukraine
Germany announced the expulsion of 40 Russian diplomats on Monday (4 April) in response to the discovery of apparent mass graves and executed civilians in Bucha, near Kyiv, adding that it seeks to end all trade relations with Russia.
While European and transatlantic allies have expelled over 150 Russian diplomats since the invasion of Ukraine, Berlin until Monday had refrained from following suit. However, confronted with the “unbelievable brutality of the Russian leaders” and their “aim to destroy” Ukraine, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock announced a change of course.
“The Federal Government has therefore decided to declare a significant number of members of the Russian Embassy undesirables,” Baerbock said.
The minister stressed that the Russian diplomats have “worked every day here in Germany against our freedom” and “against the cohesion of our society.”
“Their work is a threat to those who seek protection with us. We will not tolerate this any longer. That is what we told the Ambassador of Russia this afternoon.”
The 40 Russian diplomats, who are now considered persona non grata, have five days to leave the country.
A statement by the Russian embassy in Germany, that claimed that the reports over the massacre in Bucha were staged by the Ukrainian government, led to widespread outrage in Berlin.
“Spare us your inhuman lies,” Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the defence committee of the Bundestag tweeted yesterday, in response to the embassy’s statement.
“The day will come when Putin and his henchmen, including you, will have to answer for these cruel and massive war crimes in The Hague,” she said on Sunday, adding that “you should be expelled.”
According to the Russian news agency Interfax, the Kremlin is currently preparing to retaliate against the expulsion.
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