C: Sky News

Ireland expels four Russian Officials from Embassy

Ireland has expelled four senior officials from the Russian embassy saying that “their activities are not in accordance with the standards of diplomatic behaviour”.

Russian Ambassador Yury Filatov was told by the Department of Foreign Affairs today and told of the decision, though he is not one of the officials named.

In what appears to be a co-ordinated move, a number of other EU countries – Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic – today also expelled Russian diplomats on the same or similar grounds.

The Russian Embassy hit back at the decision saying it was an “arbitrary, groundless decision”. They also hinted that retaliatory measures might follow:  “The Embassy proceeds from the assumption that such a step by the Irish side will not go unanswered”. It remains to be seen whether a similar move will result in Irish officials being expelled from Moscow.

Speaking in the Dáil, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the decision to expel the staff came after briefings by Irish security officials.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the expulsion was: “because their 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.”

However, the Government said it believes diplomatic channels between Ireland and the Russian Federation should remain open.

“This is in the interests of our citizens as well as to ensure that we can continue to have a diplomatic channel of communication between Ireland and the Russian Federation in the future. “This channel of communication has been important in the context of conveying our strong views on the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, which we regard as a serious breach of international law,” the Department said.

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