As Russia continues to escalate its threats of nuclear war with Ukraine and its Western allies, Moscow’s diplomatic ties in Europe continue to erode, making de-escalation or peace negotiations regarding the war in Ukraine all but impossible.
On Saturday, Germany announced that it will be expelling more than 30 Russian diplomats from Berlin.
German officials were quoted by local media outlets as remarking that “More decisive action must be taken against Moscow’s spies.”
While allegations of spies have driven a large-scale removal of several Russian diplomats over the past 2 years, the allegations and expulsions have increased recently, with a large uptick being seen after the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
According to German officials, the Russian embassy is better staffed in the present day than it was during the Cold War, with claims being made that there has been a significant increase of Russian intelligence agents in Berlin as of late.
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Germany is not the only country to remove Russian diplomats in recent years, with Estonia expelling 21 Russian embassy staff last month, noting that it would only allow 8 diplomats on its territory, which matches the number of embassy staff that Tallinn has in Moscow. In response to Estonia’s cutback, the Kremlin removed its Ambassador, Margus Laidre, from Russia. Laidre was the first ambassador expelled from Russia in the year since it invaded Ukraine.
In response to the expulsion of Estonia’s ambassador from Russia, Tallinn removed Russian Ambassador Vladimir Lipayev from Pikk Street.
Estonia and Germany are not the only European countries complaining that Russian embassies and consulates have become ‘spy hubs’ and are filled with extraneous diplomats and intel officers well beyond what is considered normal.
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