Russia said Tuesday it will expel 15 Dutch diplomats, saying they have two weeks to leave the country. The retaliatory move following the Netherlands’ expulsion last month of 17 Russians whom Dutch officials said were intelligence officers posing as diplomats.
In response to Tuesday’s announcement, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in a statement, “It was to be expected that Russia would take countermeasures. Nevertheless, this is a regrettable step.” The envoys will be leaving the Dutch embassy in Moscow and consulate-general in St. Petersburg.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was also going to expel four Austrians and 12 Belgians, both in retaliation.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, some 300 Russian diplomats have had to leave various countries.
Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland and the United States have expelled Russian envoys.
Russia has taken similar moves against envoys from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and the European Union.
Some information in this report came from Reuters.