Greece will request 12 Russian diplomats to exit the country in reaction to the war in Ukraine, declaring them “personae non-gratae,” the foreign ministry announced on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Greek foreign ministry said: “The Greek authorities have declared 12 members of the Diplomatic and Consular Missions of the Russian Federation, accredited in Greece, as personae non-gratae.”
The ministry further explains that “the above were declared undesirable in accordance with the provisions of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Affairs and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs” and that “the Acting Secretary-General informed the Russian Ambassador earlier today about this decision.”
Russia’s embassy in Athens warns of “consequences”
“We have strongly protested against this unjustified and hostile step which aims to further destroy our bilateral relations,” the Russian embassy announced in a statement.
“We made clear that this action will not remain without consequences,” it further said.
Hundreds of Russian diplomats were expelled from Greece and Europe
Greece is following the lead of other European nations that have been expelling Russian diplomats following the invasion of Ukraine.
Almost two hundred Russian diplomatic staff have been expelled from European countries this week in a direct expression of governments’ outrage at the killings of Ukrainian civilians.
Joe Biden called for Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes on Monday, following the killings of civilians in the city of Bucha.
Additionally, Biden asserted that the images coming from Bucha warranted calling Putin a “war criminal,” adding, “but we have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight and we have to get all the details so this can be an actual…war-crime trial.”
As the Guardian reports, 206 Russian diplomats and embassy staff have been informed since Monday that they are no longer welcome to remain in Italy, France, Germany, or elsewhere. This is in addition to the more than 100 reported to have already been asked to leave since the beginning of Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine on February 24th of this year.
This brings the total of expelled Russian diplomats and embassy workers to more than 325, with more expected to follow.
In Germany, Annalena Baerbock, the nation’s foreign minister, reported on Monday that 40 Russian embassy employees have been requested to leave. Furthermore, intelligence sources said the diplomats were seen as a direct threat to Ukrainians living in Germany.
On Monday, France expelled 35 diplomats, proclaiming it part of a joint European action and describing the activities of those persons pinpointed for removal as “against our security interests.”
On Tuesday, Spain became the latest country to announce expulsions, announcing that 25 diplomats and embassy staff would be forced to leave.
Earlier, Italy said it was expelling 30 diplomats, for what its foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, called “national security reasons.”
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