Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Russia

Newsline: Baku denies reports on Azerbaijan’s ambassador recall from Russia

Media reports about the recall of Azerbaijani ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu are groundless, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan said. “Reports of certain news media about the recall of the Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Russia are contrary to facts,” the Foreign Ministry said. (https://tass.com/world/1223793) The ambassador made an ambiguous remark during the online briefing, when commenting on the incident with the Russia Mi-24 helicopter shot down in Armenia. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in this regard that it assumes Baku will not allow itself making any oblique statements in connection with the tragic incident. The Russian Mi-24 helicopter was downed over Armenia near the border with Azerbaijan on November 9. Two crew members were killed and another one was injured. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry later claimed responsibility for the crash, informing that its Armed Forces had downed the Russian helicopter by mistake and offered to pay damages.

Newsline: French Embassy Asks Russia To Beef Up All Missions’ Security

The French Embassy asked Russia to beef up the security of all French diplomatic missions in the country, after rallies in front of embassies and an attack on a consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, the embassy told Sputnik on Friday. The embassy said it had alerted the Russian authorities to increased risks for the country’s diplomats in light of recent events. (https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/french-embassy-asks-russia-to-beef-up-all-mis-1071745.html) A day earlier, people came to a French Embassy in Moscow to protest the Muhammad caricatures that were published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo. One of the protesters was holding a banner with criticism against French President Emmanuel Macron.

Newsline: Russia summons Bulgarian ambassador over expulsion of diplomats

Bulgaria’s ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday in connection with the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Bulgaria last month who had been accused of spying, the RIA news agency reported. (https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-russia-bulgaria-espionage-idUKKBN26X0YF) Moscow had promised retaliatory measures after the diplomats were declared ‘personae non gratae’. RIA showed footage of the ambassador arriving at the ministry.

Newsline: Russian diplomats declared persona non grata leave Bulgaria

Russian diplomats, who were declared persona non grata in Bulgaria on espionage charges, left the country, Russia’s embassy in Sofia told TASS. “The Russian diplomats left the territory of Bulgaria on Friday evening,” the source said. (https://tass.com/politics/1205271) On Wednesday, the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office accused two employees from the Russian trade mission of espionage. The authorities insisted that the two had been engaged in alleged spying activities in Bulgaria since 2016, supposedly collecting data on plans to upgrade the Bulgarian army and maintain the technical readiness of military hardware. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry declared the two personae non grata, giving them 72 hours to leave the country. The Russian Embassy castigated the expulsion as baseless, emphasizing that no evidence had been furnished to confirm any sort of activity incompatible with their status.

Newsline: Russia says regrets Bulgaria’s decision to expel diplomats, promises retaliatory measures

Moscow on Thursday expressed regret at Bulgaria’s decision to declare two Russian diplomats ‘persona non grata’ and promised details on retaliatory measures at a later date, the foreign ministry said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-russia-espionage-moscow/russia-says-regrets-bulgarias-decision-to-expel-diplomats-promises-retaliatory-measures-idUSKCN26F196) Bulgaria on Wednesday said it had expelled two Russian diplomats who prosecutors suspect were involved in spying, giving them 72 hours to leave the Balkan country, a move the Russian Embassy in Sofia described as “groundless”.

Newsline: Bulgaria expels two Russian diplomats accused of spying

Bulgaria has expelled two Russian diplomats who prosecutors suspect were involved in spying, giving them 72 hours to leave the Balkan country, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. “Bulgaria’s foreign ministry has declared two Russian diplomats ‘personae non gratae’ and has informed the Russian embassy with a diplomatic note,” a ministry spokesman said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-russia-espionage/bulgaria-expels-two-russian-diplomats-accused-of-spying-idUSKCN26E2K2) EU and NATO member Bulgaria, which usually maintains good ties with Russia, has kicked out three other Russian diplomats over espionage allegations since last October. It also declined to grant a visa to Russia’s incoming defence attache in December.

Newsline: Vehicle intercepted breaching U.S. ambassador’s residence in Moscow

A Russian national in a vehicle breached the perimeter of the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Moscow on Friday, an embassy spokeswoman said, adding that he was intercepted by embassy personnel and passed on to authorities. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-embassy/vehicle-intercepted-breaching-u-s-ambassadors-residence-in-moscow-spokeswoman-says-idUSKBN2692ES) There were no injuries and Ambassador John Sullivan was not in the building at the time, spokeswoman Rebecca Ross said in a statement. Moscow police have launched an investigation into the incident, the RIA news agency cited the interior ministry as saying, describing the vehicle’s driver as drunk.

Newsline: Russian Foreign Ministry expresses protest to German ambassador over Navalny accusations

The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed its protest to German Ambassador to Russia Geza Andreas von Geyr over the accusations made by the German government regarding the situation with Alexei Navalny. “A strong protest was declared to the ambassador over the unfounded accusations presented by the federal government of the Federal Republic of Germany against Russia in the context of the illness and hospitalization of Russian citizen Alexei Navalny, and the obvious use of his situation by Berlin as an excuse to discredit our country on the international arena,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a message published on Wednesday. (https://tass.com/politics/1198985) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier said that Berlin was showing a totally unacceptable attitude towards Moscow’s legitimate demands and requests regarding the Navalny situation.

Newsline: Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Apologizes After Infuriating Serbian Leader

Russia’s outspoken Foreign Ministry spokeswoman apologized after she drew a rare public rebuke from Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for mocking him in a social media post when he signed a U.S.-brokered deal with Kosovo. “I apologize but my post was misinterpreted,” Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page. She had intended to attack U.S. claims of “exceptionalism” and not insult the Serbian leader, she said. (https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/russia-apologizes-after-vulgar-jibe-infuriates-serbian-leader-1.1490417) Zakharova earlier posted a photo of Vucic at the White House facing President Donald Trump on Friday along with a second photo of a famous scene from the film “Basic Instinct” in which Sharon Stone is sitting cross-legged during questioning by police. “If you are invited to the White House and the chair is placed as if you are being interrogated, sit down like on photo number two. No matter who you are,” the Russian diplomat said. “Just believe me.” The post drew an unusual – and furious – response from Vucic himself. “The primitivism and the vulgarity she showed speak of her, and by God, of those who put her there,” Vucic told reporters in Brussels. Zakharova, who was recently promoted to the rank of ambassador, has a reputation for blunt commentary and maintains an active social media presence as Russia’s foreign-policy spokeswoman. Her boss, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, spoke to Vucic later Sunday by phone. The Serbian leader informed Lavrov of the results of the Washington talks and the two sides agreed to develop their strategic partnership, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry website statement, which made no mention of the incident. Officials and diplomats must choose their language carefully on social media to avoid misunderstandings, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call Monday, in response to a question on the issue. Zakharova “has apologized, and we assume nobody can be in any doubt about the commitment and deep respect to Serbia in general and the leadership of Serbia in particular,” Peskov said.

Newsline: Austria expels Russian diplomat amid ‘spy’ reports, Moscow expels Austrian envoy in response

Austria said it is expelling a Russian diplomat for violating envoy privileges, causing Russia to expel an Austrian diplomat in response. The Austrian Foreign Ministry said the Russian envoy is being ordered to leave as his behaviour was not compatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Austria Press Agency reported. Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported the Russian diplomat was allegedly involved in economic espionage at a technology firm for years and was aided by an Austrian citizen. The daily said he has until September 1 to leave. Within hours of Vienna’s announcement, Russia declared an Austrian diplomat as non grata after summoning Austrian Ambassador Johannes Aigner. (https://www.euronews.com/2020/08/24/austria-expels-russian-diplomat-amid-spy-reports-moscow-expels-austrian-envoy-in-response) The move comes two months after a retired Austrian army colonel was sentenced to three years in prison for spying for Russia in a separate case. Less than a week ago, Norway also expelled a Russian diplomat linked to an unrelated case of a man jailed on accusations of spying for Russia.