Moscow, Apr 23 (EFE).- Russia will expel five Polish diplomats from the country, the foreign ministry said Friday, in response to a similar measure taken last week by Warsaw against three Russian officials who were declared persona non grata.
“In response to Poland’s provocative actions to expel Russian diplomats and based on the principle of reciprocity,” “five officials of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the Russian Federation were declared personae non gratae,” the ministry headed by Sergey Lavrov said.
The five Polish officials must leave Russia by May 15, the ministry said in the statement. The Polish ambassador, Krzysztof Krajewski was informed of the expulsion on Friday.
Moscow conveyed its “resolute protest” against Warsaw’s “unjustified” announcement on April 15 to declare three employees of the Russian Embassy in Poland persona non grata under “an absurd pretext” of expressing solidarity with the sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia.
Washington announced that day that it was sanctioning Russia for its alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election and its alleged role in the massive SolarWinds cyberattack, in addition to imposing punishments related to Russian actions in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
In Moscow’s view, Poland’s actions were another confirmation that Warsaw “is deliberately implementing a line to further degrade and demolish our bilateral relations.”
Because of the Polish government’s actions, the foreign ministry said, “in recent years contacts with Russia were virtually frozen.”
The develops are the latest in a series of diplomatic standoffs between Russia and former Soviet satellite countries on its western borders.
On Thursday, Moscow withdrew troops that had been deployed to the border with Ukraine over recent weeks, leading to rebukes from NATO and its members and allies, including Poland and Lithuania, and appeals for calm. EFE