Russia has announced the “mutual” expulsion of more than 20 German diplomats, according to the RIA news agency

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Saturday it would expel a number of German diplomats in a reciprocal move, although Germany did not immediately confirm any expulsions of its own.

Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency said, without citing a source, that Germany would expel more than 20 Russian diplomats.

A German Foreign Ministry official said that Berlin and Moscow have been in contact about each other’s representation in the past few weeks, and that the arrival of a Russian government plane in Berlin is related to the matter.

Relations between Russia and Germany, which were usually the largest buyers of Russian oil and gas, have collapsed since Moscow sent its armed forces to Ukraine in February 2022, and the West responded by imposing sanctions and weapons on Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “the German authorities decided to expel another group of employees of Russian diplomatic missions in Germany.”

“We strongly condemn these actions of Berlin, which obviously continue to destroy the entire spectrum of Russian-German relations.”

It did not disclose the number of diplomats involved, but said the expulsions were “mutual”, and that they would significantly limit the maximum number of staff in German diplomatic missions.

It added that the German ambassador had been informed of these steps in talks on April 5.

The German Foreign Ministry said it had taken note of the Russian statement.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin. Editing by Jason Neely

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