Three months after Germany ordered the removal of more than 30 Russian diplomats from the country on the suspicion they were actually spies, Berlin has now ordered the Kremlin to close 4 of the 5 consulates it maintains in Germany. The order to close the consulates comes after Moscow puts limits on the number of staff allowed at the German Embassy and other facilities in Russia. According to German Foreign Ministry spokesman, Chirstofer Burger, Berlin ordered the closures to ensure “parity of personnel and structures” between the two countries.
Russia currently has consulates in Bonn, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Munich and Moscow is working to determine which ones to close. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has told Berlin that it can only have 350 German officials in Russia. That figure includes those that work in schools and other cultural entities.
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As a result of the new limits, Burger said that Berlin would be shuttering its consulates in Kaliningrad, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg. The only 2 facilities Germany will maintain in Russia are the embassy in Moscow and a consulate in St. Petersburg. According to ZeroHedge, next year, the Kremlin will only be able to operate its embassy in Berlin and one consulate in order to keep things equal between the two nations.
Burger put the blame for the failing diplomatic relations between the two countries on Russia saying that at this point there is “simply no basis” for bilateral activities between Berlin and Moscow.
Germany recently further deteriorated relations by allowing the export of Poland’s Soviet-era warplanes, which had originally been provided from German military stockpiles.
Berlin also approved the transfer of German-made tanks to Ukraine, in addition to sending its own tanks to Kyiv, which Putin saw as an escalation of his proxy war with NATO.
Like many NATO countries, Germany initially opposed sending battle tanks and combat aircraft to Ukraine out of fear of provoking a direct conflict with Russia. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has joined U.S. President Joe Biden and other Western leaders over time in not only sending tanks but also establishing F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots – a move that is likely to be seen as a further provocation by Putin.
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