Baltic states expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with Prague

Lithuania also expelled two Russian diplomats from Vilnius on Friday. [EPA-EFE/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE]

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will expel several Russian diplomats and embassy employees in solidarity with Prague, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis announced during a joint press conference on Friday (23 April). EURACTIV’s media partner LRT.lt reports.

“My Latvian and Estonian colleagues have each expelled one [embassy] employee involved in espionage activities,” Landsbergis said.

Lithuania will expel two Russian diplomats, he said without disclosing names. “They both had a diplomatic rank” and were involved in espionage, added Landsbergis.

“Today, April 23, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry summoned the representative of the Russian Federation in Lithuania, he was handed a note declaring two employees of the Russian Federation [embassy] non-desirable persons due to activities incompatible with their diplomatic status, they were ordered to leave Lithuania within seven days,” the minister said.

Earlier this week, the Czech Republic ordered 18 Russian diplomats, identified as secret agents, to leave the country and asked its partners to expel identified members of Russian intelligence services in an act of solidarity.

Citing an intelligence report, the Czech government has said that Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, orchestrated two explosions in 2014, one of which killed two people and caused extensive material damage.

Czechs order Russia to pull out most embassy staff in worsening spy row

The Czech Republic on Thursday (22 April) ordered Russia to remove most of its remaining diplomatic staff from Prague in an escalation of the worst dispute between the two countries in decades.

Moscow denied the allegations and responded in kind by expelling 20 Czech diplomatic staff. The Czech government on Thursday ordered Russia to remove most of its diplomatic staff from Prague.

Slovakia has also expelled three Russian diplomats.

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