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Newsline: Russia announces expulsion of 18 EU diplomats

Russia ramped up its diplomatic expulsions on Friday, announcing that 18 European Union diplomats would be considered “persona non grata” in the country. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleged in a statement that it was taking such measures after 19 Russian diplomats to the EU and European Atomic Energy Community were expelled. “The Russian side declared the responsibility of the EU for the consistent destruction of the architecture of bilateral dialogue and cooperation that has been created for decades,” the foreign ministry said. The timing of when the EU diplomats would be expelled was not specified in the statement, which only said they would leave “in the near future.” (https://thehill.com/policy/international/3269821-russia-announces-expulsion-of-18-eu-diplomats/) The EU condemned the expulsion of its diplomats later on Friday. “The European Union deplores the unjustified, baseless decision of the Russian Federation to expel 18 members of the Delegation of the European Union to the Russian Federation,” Peter Stano, lead spokesperson for the external affairs of the EU, said in a statement. “There are no grounds for Friday’s decision by the Russian authorities beyond being a pure retaliatory step. Russia’s chosen course of action will further deepen its international isolation.” The continued expulsions signal an advancing breakdown in diplomatic communications between Russia and the rest of the world.

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