Ireland has expelled four senior officials from the Russian embassy on the grounds that they had breached the international standards of diplomatic behaviour, the Irish new outlet Gript reports. The Irish government communicated its decision to Russian Ambassador Yury Filatov, though he is not one of the officials expelled.
A number of other EU countries—Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic—today also expelled Russian diplomats on the grounds of ‘undiplomatic behaviour,’ Gript also reports. The explusions appear to be a coordinated move.
The Russian embassy responded by calling it an “arbitrary, groundless decision” and hinted at retaliatory measures. “The embassy proceeds from the assumption that such a step by the Irish side will not go unanswered,” a statement from the Russian embassy posted on Twitter said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said in a press release that the expulsion was because the diplomats’ “activities have not been in accordance with international standards of diplomatic behaviour. This action is being taken under Article 9 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” According to Prime Minister Micheál Martin, the decision to expel the Russian diplomatic staff came after briefings by Irish security officials, Gript reports.
The Department of Foreign Affairs qualified in the statement that it believes diplomatic channels between Ireland and the Russian Federation should remain open.