Russia continues to expel European diplomats

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Moscow, May 20 (IANS) Russia said Thursday that it is expelling five diplomats of the Portuguese Embassy in Moscow in a retaliatory move.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Portuguese ambassador to Russia and protested against the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats from Portugal, Xinhua news agency reported.

The five Portuguese diplomats were declared “personae non gratae” and must leave Russia within 14 days.

On the same day, Russia also demanded the Slovenian embassy in Moscow reduce its diplomatic staff by four people, about 40 per cent of the total number, within 10 days.

The decision was taken in response to Ljubljana’s move last month to reduce the size of the Russian embassy and the deterioration of its working conditions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it also decided to adjust the conditions for the functioning of the Slovenian diplomatic mission, without giving details.

On April 5, Portugal and Slovenia announced their decisions to reduce the Russian embassy staff in Lisbon and Ljubljana respectively.