Russia will to Expel About One-Third of German Diplomats

Russia will cut staff limits for German diplomatic missions and expel about one-third of Berlin’s diplomats currently working in the country, the foreign ministry in Moscow said. 
The ministry said the move, announced Saturday, was meant to “mirror” the recent expulsion of Russian diplomats from Germany. Relations between the former major trading partners continue to deteriorate as President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine approaches the 14-month mark.  
Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on the defense ministry’s channel Zvezda that “more than 20” German diplomats would be sent home in response to what Moscow called the recent “massive expulsion” of Russian diplomats from Germany.
Russia expelled roughly one-third of about 90 German diplomats working in Moscow, said a German official familiar with the matter who declined to be named. The Berlin-based newspaper Bild earlier reported that Russia would banish 34 Germans. 
“Russia has decided on the ‘mirror’ expulsion of German diplomats from Russia, as well as on significantly limiting the maximum number of employees of German diplomatic missions in our country,” the Russian ministry said earlier in a statement. 
According to the statement, Germany’s ambassador, Geza Andreas von Geyr, was informed about the plan on April 5. Over 20 Russians were expelled in Berlin’s recent action, Russia’s state news agency RIA reported. 
Russia a year ago expelled 40 German diplomats after Germany sent home the same number of Russians. At that point, in response to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, almost every European country expelled some Russian diplomats. 

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