The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on February 5 that it had expelled three European diplomats who participated in an “unauthorized” rally in support of opposition leader Navalny.
According to a report by the Russian Satellite News Agency on the 5th, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on the same day that the ambassadors of Sweden, Poland and Germany to Russia have been expelled, who are suspected of participating in illegal gatherings in support of Navalny.
The three diplomats were declared “unpopular” and will leave Russia soon, according to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Previously, anonymous sources in the European Union revealed that Russia expelled the three diplomats.
It is reported that the decision was made after Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and the EU Foreign and Security Policy High-level Deborelli talks on his first visit to Moscow.
Navalny had previously gone to Germany for treatment due to poisoning, and was arrested at the airport after returning to Moscow on January 17. On January 23, gatherings in solidarity with Navalny broke out in many parts of Russia.
Protests first appeared in the Far East (Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Yakutsk), followed by Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and other cities.
During the rally, Russian police arrested a large number of illegal demonstrators and opened an investigation into the demonstrators, including posing a mass threat of contracting the novel coronavirus.
According to the Associated Press, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Swedish and Polish diplomats of attending the rally on the 23rd in St. Petersburg, while German diplomats attended the rally on the same day in Moscow.
On February 2, the Moscow City Court lifted the suspended sentence of Navalny and commuted it to 3.5 years’ imprisonment.
On the same day, near the Moscow court building where the hearing was held, the vehicles of the United States, Britain, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Poland, Canada, Japan and other countries in Russia were parked.
The governments of Sweden and Poland have confirmed that diplomats in Russia have been expelled.
German Chancellor Merkel condemned Moscow’s decision and said that he did not rule out the imposition of sanctions on Russian officials.