Russia Expels Macedonian Embassy Staff In Tit-For-Tat Move
By RFE/RL June 10, 2021
Russia says it has declared an employee of North Macedonia's embassy in Moscow as persona non grata in response to a similar move by Skopje last month.
Calling North Macedonia's initial move "unwarranted," the Russian Foreign Ministry said the Balkan country's charge d'affaires was informed of Moscow's decision to expel the embassy worker on June 10.
The statement did not name the person who was being expelled or when that individual had to leave Russia.
North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said he regretted Moscow's "unjustified" decision, which he said will "undoubtedly have negative influence" on bilateral relations.
In May, North Macedonia announced it had decided to expel a Russian diplomat "in accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."
Based on this article, the host country at any time and for any reason can declare a particular member of the diplomatic staff persona non grata.
Several other former Soviet bloc countries in Central and Eastern Europe, all of them members of the European Union and NATO, have expelled Russian diplomats recently, triggering reciprocal measures by Moscow.
The series of expulsions began in April, when the Czech Republic expelled scores of Russian diplomats over the accusations that Russian spies were involved in a deadly ammunition depot explosion in 2014, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Moscow.
North Macedonia previously expelled Russian diplomats in 2018 in solidarity with Britain following a nerve-agent poisoning in England that targeted former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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