Germany, France expel dozens of Russian diplomats
Germany and France decide to expel dozens of Russian diplomats from their countries under the pretext that they are a "security threat."
Germany has decided to expel a significant number of Russian diplomats on Monday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.
According to Agence France Press AFP, Berlin's move involves 40 Russians.
Baerbock claimed that those working in the Russian embassy consider a threat to whoever is seeking protection in our country, referring to the Ukrainian refugees received by Germany, which amount to more than 300,000.
"We will no longer tolerate that -- we communicated that to the Russian ambassador this afternoon," she said.
The German minister reiterated her condemnation of what she called "unbelievable brutality" of the Russians in reference to the talks on Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
France on the other hand said on Monday that it will expel 35 Russian diplomats as part of a coordinated European response.
The foreign ministry said in a statement: "France has decided to expel a number of Russian diplomats stationed in France whose activities are contrary to our security interests."
35 Russian diplomats would be expelled, according to a ministry source who did not want to be identified.
Kremlin, Russian FM slam photo, video materials from Bucha as 'fake'
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the photo and video materials disseminated by Ukraine depicting dead civilians on the streets of the Ukrainian town of Bucha northwest of Kiev cannot be trusted.
Over the weekend, Ukraine published footage it claimed shows evidence of crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in Bucha. "All photos and video materials published by the Kiev regime allegedly testifying to some ‘crimes’ committed by Russian soldiers in the town of Bucha, Kiev region, is another provocation," Moscow's Defense Ministry said yesterday, adding that all Russian soldiers had withdrawn from the town as early as March 30.
Peskov said that this information should be seriously questioned, as the facts and timing speak against the reliability of Ukraine's statements.
"We categorically reject any accusations. Moreover, we believe that this topic should be discussed at the highest possible level, so there was an initiative to consider this topic, our initiative to consider the topic in the Security Council. We know that this initiative was blocked," he said.
Russian Foreign Ministry to "give a worthy response"
In response to the new European decision, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS on Monday that Moscow will not sit still.
"We will give a worthy response," Zakharova said.
"I think that the very fact that these statements were made minutes after these materials were released leaves no doubts as for who has contracted this story," she said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel.
In the same context, the Russian embassy in Berlin said on Telegram that the European move would worsen ties.
"The unfounded reduction in the number of diplomatic staff at Russian missions in Germany will narrow the space for maintaining dialogue between our countries, which will lead to a further deterioration in Russian-German relations," the embassy stated.