Two Irish diplomats asked to leave Embassy in Moscow 9 months ago

Two Irish diplomats asked to leave Embassy in Moscow

Minister Simon Coveney has said that "there is no justification for the taking of this measure."

Two diplomats have been asked to leave the Irish Embassy in Moscow.

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The Department of Foreign Affairs shared the news in a statement Thursday evening (7 April).

"The Ambassador of Ireland to the Russian Federation was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow this afternoon and informed that two diplomats from our Embassy in Moscow have been asked to leave," said Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

"There is no justification for the taking of this measure.

"The staff at the Embassy of Ireland in Moscow do not have, nor are engaged in, any duties or functions which are incompatible with their diplomatic status.

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"This decision to reduce the size of our relatively small Embassy in Moscow will significantly reduce our ability to provide services to our citizens in Russia and to maintain diplomatic channels of communication with the Russian Federation."

Ireland was one of 93 countries that voted to remove Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council earlier on Thursday.

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Last Tuesday, (29 March), Government officials including Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed that four Russian diplomats attached to the embassy had been asked to leave Ireland.

The Embassy of Russia heavily criticised the measure, labelling the decision "groundless".

"On March 29, 2022, the Embassy of Russia in Ireland has been informed by the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland of the decision by the Government of Ireland to request that four members of the diplomatic staff of the Embassy leave Ireland shortly, because allegedly their actions have been found to be unacceptable," the statement begins.

"The Embassy rejects such qualifications of the work of our diplomats.

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"This is [an] arbitrary, groundless decision, which can only deteriorate further Russian-Irish relations, already damaged by the Irish participation in illegitimate EU sanctions against Russia.

"The Embassy proceeds from the assumption that such a step by the Irish side will not go unanswered."

An Irish diplomat has not been removed from Moscow since 2018, in response to the removal of a Russian diplomat in Dublin following the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

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