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Iran Press TV

Russia expels more diplomats from some Western-aligned countries

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 2:30 PM

Russia has given one week to seven diplomats from some Western-aligned countries to leave, in a tit-for-tat move against the backdrop of the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that three Slovak and two Lithuanian diplomats, as well as an envoy from Latvia and another from Estonia had to leave Russia.

Moscow accuses the four countries of showing "pseudo-solidarity" with the Czech Republic, which ordered most of the Russian diplomatic staff in Prague to leave last week.

Moscow and Prague are locked in their biggest row since the end of the Soviet era in 1989.

Prague accuses Russian agents of involvement in a 2014 blast at an ammunition depot. The Kremlin dismisses the accusation.

On April 17, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis claimed there was "well-grounded suspicion" of the involvement of two Russian military intelligence service (GRU) agents in the 2014 incident.

Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has reiterated that Prague has no proof for its allegation of Russian involvement in the Vrbetice explosion.

The Czech government expelled 18 Russian diplomats and other embassy staff it accused of spying last week. Prague also ordered 63 more Russian diplomats and embassy staff to leave the country by the end of May.

Moscow has retaliated. Twenty Czech diplomats have been expelled.

The United States and the European Union have also imposed sanctions on Russia over alleged cyberattacks, human rights violations and activity in Ukraine.

Russia recently ordered 10 American diplomats to leave the country after the United States expelled Russian diplomats. It also explained that US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan was advised to leave the country for Washington for consultations.

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