Baltics expel 10 Russian diplomats over invasion of Ukraine
Riga, Latvia, Mar 18 (EFE).- Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia Friday expelled a total of 10 Russian diplomats over president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the foreign ministers of the three Baltic states said.
Estonia and Latvia expelled three diplomats each while Lithuania said four employees of the Russian Embassy in its capital Vilnius were “undesired”.
The announcements of the expulsions suggested that the diplomats were working for Moscow’s intelligence services and were complicit in the planning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Latvia’s foreign minister, Edgars Rinkevics, said the expulsions were made “in solidarity with Ukraine and its fight against the unprovoked and unjustifiable Russian military aggression”.
Estonia said the three expelled diplomats were directly and actively involved in undermining its national security and disseminating propaganda justifying Russia’s military aggression.
Lithuania said the four employees were considered “undesired” and asked to leave the country within five days for activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.
All three foreign ministries also condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia’s military attacks on civilians, civilian facilities, hospitals, schools, maternity homes and cultural facilities are war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Lithuania’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
On a similar note, Estonia’s foreing ministry said: “By continuing its large-scale military action against Ukraine, Russia is violating both international law and its voluntary international commitments in the most blatant way possible.”
All three Baltic states – who each share a border with Russia – have been directly impacted by the war in Ukraine with tens of thousands of refugees arriving since the war started. EFE