Relations between Russia and Europe are cooling even further.
Moscow declared on Friday the
persona non grata
of diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden accused of participating in a demonstration in favor of the imprisoned opponent Alexei Navalny.
An announcement that comes on the day of the visit to Russia of the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell.
These diplomats, whose number is not specified, are accused of having participated in these "illegal gatherings on January 23" in St. Petersburg and Moscow, said the Russian Foreign Ministry, deeming "such actions unacceptable and incompatible with their diplomatic status ”.
"The Russian side expects that in the future the diplomatic missions of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Republic of Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany and their staff will scrupulously respect the standards of international law", underlined the Ministry.
Berlin and Stockholm outraged
A few hours earlier, the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell had judged that relations with Russia were "at their lowest" because of the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexeï Navalny.
Via his spokesperson, Peter Stano, he “firmly” condemned this expulsion, adding that he had learned that “three diplomats” were affected by this decision.
He "rejected the allegations that they carried out activities incompatible with their status as foreign diplomats", continued the spokesperson.
Trial of Alexei Navalny: "His courage gives him a moral posture that he did not have before"
For its part, the Swedish Foreign Ministry considers the expulsion of one of its envoys "as completely unfounded, which he also said on the Russian side".
He "reserves the right to react appropriately," he said in a written statement to AFP.
Germany has for its part assured that this expulsion will not go unanswered.