Italy is expelling 30 Russian diplomats over “national security” concerns as Russia’s war in Ukraine rages on, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Tuesday.
The Russian ambassador to Italy was summoned to the ministry and notified of the decision this morning, Anadolu Agency reported Di Maio said, speaking from Berlin to RAI public broadcaster.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the expulsions.
“This measure, taken in coordination with other European and Atlantic partners, was made necessary by motives related to our national security, in the context of the current crisis situation stemming from the unjustified aggression of Ukraine by the Russian Federation,” Di Maio said.
Italian media quoted Russian state media as saying that Russia would respond in kind to the diplomatic expulsions.
On Monday, France announced its decision to expel Russian diplomats from the country after President Emmanuel Macron called for fresh sanctions in the light of alleged atrocities carried out by Russian forces in Bucha, near Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.
According to Anadolu Agency, the Foreign Ministry in a brief statement said many Russian diplomatic personnel based in France “whose activities are contrary to our security interests” will be expelled.
The statement said this latest move is “part of a European approach.”
A report in BFMTV news said the action will impact 35 Russian diplomats, it added.
Germany was also taking the same action on Monday, expeling dozens of Russian diplomast in response to “the war crimes committed in Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement that Germany has taken this step to demonstrate its stance against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutality” in Ukraine, following reports of atrocities committed in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.
“The Federal Government has decided today to declare a significant number of the Russian Embassy staff as persona non grata, who have worked every day against our freedom and against the cohesion of our society here in Germany,” it quoted Baerbock said.
“Your work is a threat to those who seek shelter with us. We will no longer tolerate this. We’ve told this to the Russian Ambassador this afternoon. We will also take further actions together with our partners,” she added.
The Foreign Ministry did not announce the exact number of Russian diplomats who have been declared persona non grata, but the German news agency DPA reported that the government has ordered the expulsion of 40 diplomats.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday visited Bucha, where Ukrainian t