North Macedonia expels six more Russian DiplomatsSoutheast Europe | April 15, 2022, Friday // 14:35| views
Russia's ambassador to North Macedonia, Sergei Bazdnikin, was briefed today on six Moscow diplomats being declared persona non grata.
This became clear after a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Skopje. The reason is that they carried out activities incompatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. They must leave the country within five days.
This is the second such step in two weeks, at a time when a number of European countries are persecuting Russian diplomats over Moscow's aggression in Ukraine. The number of countries taking such a decision has risen following reports of the massacre of civilians in Bucha, Kyiv Oblast, blamed by the West and Ukraine on Russian forces that withdrew earlier this month. In just the first five days after the news, more than 200 Russian diplomats were expelled around the world, according to a report by the online publication “Meduza”.
However, the connection between today's expulsion and Bucha or the war in Ukraine is not explicitly stated by Skopje.
At the same time, despite Moscow's warnings of retaliation (and even threats that the Skopje embassy will be emptied), the measure coincides with tensions in Bulgaria and North Macedonia over resolving the bilateral dispute. Earlier this month, five Russian diplomats were expelled for obstructing relations with Bulgaria, according to the Macedonian Foreign Ministry.
Days earlier, Bulgaria expelled the first secretary of the Russian embassy, and almost at the same time, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov commented on an investigation into the collection of information of national importance, involving the first secretary, saying:
“These are Russian interests that have worked in a very specific direction, which is that the Western Balkans should not have a European future and our relations with North Macedonia should not be so friendly,” said Kiril Petkov.
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