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Netherlands to reduce number of Russian embassy diplomats due to Moscow's attempts to employ spies there

Saturday, 18 February 2023, 19:14
Netherlands to reduce number of Russian embassy diplomats due to Moscow's attempts to employ spies there

"EUROPEAN PRAVDA"SATURDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2023, 20:14

The Netherlands has decided to reduce the number of diplomats in the Russian embassy due to repeated attempts to employ intelligence officers in the diplomatic mission.

Source: statement of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, European Pravda reports.

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Quote: "Russia is, again and again, trying to secretly employ intelligence officers as diplomats in the Netherlands. At the same time, Russia refuses to issue visas to Dutch diplomats to staff the consulate general in Saint Petersburg and the embassy in Moscow. This is unacceptable and has led to an unstable situation," the statement reads.

Therefore, the government of the country decided that the Russian Embassy in the Hague cannot have more diplomats than the Dutch Embassy in Moscow.

"Thus, several Russian diplomats will have to leave the Netherlands. The Consulate General of the Netherlands in Saint Petersburg will have to be temporarily closed due to a lack of staff. The government has also decided that the Russian trade representative office in Amsterdam should be closed," the statement said.

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"Despite numerous attempts by the Netherlands to find a solution, Russia continues to try to get intelligence officers in the Netherlands under diplomatic cover. We cannot and will not allow this. At the same time, it is important that embassies remain open as a channel of communication, even now, when relations with Russia are more complex than ever," Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said.

Russian diplomats who cannot stay must leave the Netherlands within two weeks. The Russian trade representative office in Amsterdam should be closed from 21 February.

The Dutch Consulate General in Saint Petersburg will close on 20 February. This means that, among other things, assistance to Dutch citizens and organisations will no longer be provided by Saint Petersburg. The Dutch Embassy in Moscow will remain open.

Negotiations on visas for diplomats lasted almost a year. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the Netherlands expelled 17 Russian intelligence officers in March 2022. In response, Russia expelled 15 Dutch diplomats. Since then, negotiations have been underway to deploy new diplomats on both sides.

On Friday, the Dutch ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry due to an investigation that suggested that the decision to supply the Buk anti-aircraft missile system to the "DPR" [the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic – ed.] militants was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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