Greece announced 12 Russian diplomats "unwanted" persons

Greece has declared 12 Russian diplomats persona non grata, the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that they will have to leave the country. The secretary general of the ministry informed the Russian ambassador in Athens about this decision “earlier today,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to statementthe Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared 12 employees of the diplomatic and consular missions of the Russian Federation accredited in Greece “persona non grata*”.

12 Russian diplomats were declared “undesirable under the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Affairs of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs of 1963.”

Greece has become the latest of several EU countries to expel Russian diplomats. This practice of the last days is carried out with the characteristic: “activities that do not correspond to their diplomatic capabilities.” In a few months, the countries expelled a total of about 400 Russian diplomats. This decision was made by: Poland (45 diplomats), Germany (40), Italy (30), Spain (25), Belgium (21), the Netherlands (17), Denmark (15), Bulgaria (12), Portugal (10), Ireland (4), Sweden (3), Czech Republic (1), Romania (10), Estonia (17), Lithuania (4) and Latvia (13).

RF reaction

Moscow will respond to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Greece. This was announced on Wednesday, April 6 by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova. According to her, the expulsion of Russian diplomats from European countries can be regarded as an information and political attack on Russia. On the air of the Sputnik radio station that day, she noted that no facts and arguments that could justify such actions were provided to the Russian side. In addition, a number of countries have begun to publish and make public the names of diplomats and present their personal data.

The latest EU decision to declare a number of Russian diplomats persona non grata will limit the possibilities of diplomatic communication with these countries, emphasized the day before, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. He called such a move short-sighted.

The largest expulsion of Russian diplomats from Greece in the history of the country

This is not the first expulsion of diplomats from Greece in recent years. In 2018 Greece expelled 3 Russian diplomats after the scandal with Russian real estate in Greece and church issues, motivating the action by “interference in the internal affairs of the country.” According to publications in the publication of Katimerini, these individuals made an unsuccessful attempt to bribe government officials. In addition, they tried to influence the municipalities and metropolises, including those on Mount Athos. The diplomats were also accused of information activities (a diplomatic term for collecting and disseminating information) directed against Greece.

By words Greek journalist Vasilis Makridis, “Geoffrey Pyatt played a big role in the expulsion of Russian diplomats.” Russia also expelled 2 Greek diplomats in response. Most likely, the Russian Federation, in this case, will respond with similar measures.

In diplomacy persona non grata – the Latin expression “a person who is not welcome” – a status applied by the host country to foreign diplomats in order to deprive them of diplomatic immunity from arrest and other types of prosecution.

*In accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the receiving state may “at any time and without giving reasons” declare any member of the diplomatic staff persona non grata. A person so declared is considered unacceptable and is usually recalled to his or her home country.

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