Paris declares six Russian diplomats persona non grata, Moscow vows to respond
France decides to expel dozens of Russian diplomats under the pretext that they constitute a "security threat".
The French Foreign Ministry said, on Monday, that Paris is expelling six Russians "suspected of working as spies under diplomatic cover after the French intelligence services uncovered a clandestine operation on its territory."
"Six Russian agents operating under diplomatic cover whose activities were found to be contrary to our national interests have been declared persona non grata," the Foreign Ministry claimed in a statement.
According to the statement, the DGSI domestic intelligence service revealed on April 10th, following a lengthy investigation, "a clandestine operation carried out by Russian intelligence services on our territory."
The nature of the operation was not specified in the statement.
On his account, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted that the DGSI "had thwarted a network of Russian clandestine agents who worked against our interests".
He claimed that the DGSI had carried out a "remarkable operation of counter-espionage" and hailed the organization for "looking after our fundamental interests while in the shadows".
The move comes after France announced on April 4 that it would expel 35 Russian diplomats as part of joint European action in response to the war in Ukraine.
It had described those diplomats as "Russian personnel with diplomatic status stationed in France whose activities are detrimental to our security interests" at the time.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that Moscow will respond to the expulsion of diplomats from France.
Zakharova also said that Russia will not change its position on Ukraine due to the expulsion of its diplomats from Europe.