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Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands… Why are dozens of Russian diplomats expelled from European countries?

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In the context of the war waged in Ukraine by Vladimir Putin, the expulsions of Russian diplomats are increasing in Europe, against a backdrop of suspicions of espionage.

This Tuesday, Belgium decided to expel 21 people working for the Russian embassy and consulate within two weeks. They are suspected of involvement “in operations of espionage and influence threatening national security”, specified the head of Belgian diplomacy Sophie Wilmès.

For their part, the Netherlands announced to expel 17 people “accredited as diplomats to Russian representations in the Netherlands” but who would be “secretly active as intelligence officers”. The Dutch government decided to expel them “due to the threat to national security posed by this group”.

That same day, Ireland also announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats, this time on the grounds that their activities “do not correspond to international standards of diplomatic behavior”.

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Slovakia also decided on Wednesday to expel 35 Russian diplomats employed in the Russian embassy, ​​present on its territory.

A list of 620 Russian agents revealed

This wave of expulsions comes after the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published a list of 620 alleged agents of the FSB, the Russian intelligence service which succeeded the KGB.

The list contains the names, addresses, even mobile phone numbers and car registrations of those kyiv suspects of spying in various European countries.

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Other European countries, such as North Macedonia, Poland and the Baltic countries had already announced that they had expelled Russian intelligence agents since the beginning of March.

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