Russia expels five Polish diplomats in response to three of their own
Russia's foreign ministry summoned the Polish ambassador on Friday following Warsaw's expulsion of Russian diplomatic staff, RIA news agency reported. In response, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov announced that five Polish diplomats would be expelled from Moscow.
Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed media reports and said it summoned Polish Ambassador in Moscow Krzysztof Krajewski and expressed protest against the expulsion of three Russian diplomats from Warsaw. In response, the ministry found five employees of Polish Embassy in Moscow as personae non gratae. They have until May 15 to leave Russia.
Warsaw expelled three Russian diplomats earlier this month, saying that they were involved in "activities to the detriment" of Poland.
The Russian MFA called Poland's actions as "provocative", and added that "Warsaw deliberately set a course to further degradation and destruction of bilateral relations".
In February, the Russian authorities expelled three EU diplomats for their alleged involvement in the recent protests against Alexei Navalny's imprisonment. One of them was a staff member at the Polish consulate in Petersburg, while the other two were from Sweden and Germany.
"Gazeta Wyborcza" journalist and author of books on Russia Wacław Radziwinowicz told TVN24 on Friday "there's not a single day for Russian MFA not expelling some diplomats from Moscow". "For three expelled Russians, Poland will have to recall five of their diplomats".
Radziwinowicz also said that the diplomatic custom dictates there should always be a response. "Polite custom dictates the reply should not be too excessive. A tit for tat. Apparently, however, the Russians escalate their repressions" - he told TVN24.
"I wouldn't take it as a direct attack aimed Poland. (...) Poland is not Putin's target, nor is Prague, but the United States are. Not in order to provoke a huge confrontation, but to prepare ground for dialogue with the new (American) administration" - Radziwinowicz said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters