Brussels [Belgium], March 29 (ANI): The Netherlands and Belgium on Tuesday expelled a total of 38 diplomats from their respective countries amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Belgium has decided to expel 21 Russian diplomats from the country, Sputnik News Agency reported citing RTBF broadcaster on Tuesday.
Belgium said that diplomats are being expelled over espionage and security threats, the broadcaster reportedly said.
The expulsion of 17 diplomats from the Netherlands was announced by Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra.
“The Netherlands is expelling 17 Russian intelligence agents working in Russian missions in the Netherlands under diplomatic cover,” Hoekstra informed in a tweet, further saying that the diplomats being expelled “pose a security threat.”
The development comes days after Poland expelled 45 Russian diplomats over charges of espionage.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had warned that Russia will retaliate against the Polish actions.
Earlier, the US had expelled 12 Russian diplomats from the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, as well as a Russian employee of the UN Secretariat
In response to the move, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on March 23 that it too will expel US diplomats from Moscow.
The ongoing conflict has resulted in about 10 million people getting displaced within the country or ending up as refugees abroad till now according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Russia launched its invasion last month after recognising the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as “independent republics.” Russia has since continued to maintain that the aim of its operations has been to “demilitarize” and “de-nazify” the country.
The Russian actions were immediately condemned by almost all the western countries, who rolled out severe sets of sanctions targetting the Russian economy, and key individuals.
A number of countries, including the US, UK, France, Italy, Finland and several others, also banned Russian aircraft over their airspaces. (ANI)
This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.
Source: The Print