The Netherlands to expel 10 Russian diplomats, close St Petersburg consulate
The Netherlands has ordered Russia to shut down its trade office in Amsterdam by Tuesday and has ordered around 10 Russian diplomats to leave the country.
Foreign affairs minister Wopke Hoekstra told reporters on Saturday that Russia is continuing to attempt to place spies in the Netherlands by presenting them as diplomats and this is why the decision has been taken.
In addition, the Netherlands is closing down its consulate in St Petersburg, because it lacks staff and Russia is failing to provide visas, Hoekstra said.
The decision means that diplomatic relations between the two countries would be at a ‘very low level,’ Hoekstra said.
‘Unfortunately, this is unavoidable. Russia began a terrible war in Ukraine, Russia is taking absolutely no responsibility for MH17, despite the years of careful investigation. And it is again Russia that is continuing to sent spies here posing as diplomats,’ he said.
Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Netherlands told 17 Russian diplomats to leave, prompting a tit for tax expulsion of Dutch embassy officials by Moscow.
Moscow has reportedly said it will respond to the Dutch move.
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