France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Slovenia expelled nearly 200 Russian diplomats in two daysgesture that marks a new deterioration of relations with Moscow after the alleged massacres of which Russia is accused, particularly in the city of Bucha. Faced with the wave of expulsions, the Kremlin denounced Europe’s “lack of vision” and anticipated that it will respond with similar measures. the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky called for the exclusion of Russia from the UN Security Council demanding that the Kremlin be “held accountable” for committing “the worst war crimes” since World War II.
The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrel also announced Tuesday that declared persona non grata by several Russian representatives in the European Union (EU) for “activities contrary” to their status as diplomats, without specifying either the number or the date of their expulsion. Borrell stressed that the EU plans to allocate one billion euros of military aid to Ukraine to allow it to defend its territory, a figure that “does not go far” but will serve to provide “small defensive weapons that have shown extraordinary effectiveness. “.
A long list of expulsions
Italy has decided to expel 30 Russian diplomats for “national security” reasonsdeclared the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio. “This measure, adopted by mutual agreement with our European and Atlantic partners, became necessary for reasons related to our national security and in the context of the current crisis situation linked to the unjustified aggression of Ukraine by Russia”, affirmed the head of Italy diplomacy.
From you Mario Draghithe Italian Prime Minister confirmed this “The decision was taken in agreement with other European and Atlantic partners” and specified that his country supported “with conviction” the new sanctions presented Tuesday by the European Commission. Slovenia has also decided to expel 33 Russian diplomats to express its “strong protest” and “shock” after the discovery of the dead civilians.
Several Western countries expressed their condemnation this weekend for the discovery of dozens of apparently civilian bodies in Bucha, northwest of the Ukrainian capital. Russia denies its involvement in the events and denounces a “staging” in Kyiv to damage the image of Russian soldiers.
After Bucha’s information came to light, Lithuania announced on Monday the expulsion of the Russian ambassador “in response to the Russian military aggression against sovereign Ukraine and the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces”. The same day Germany announced it was expelling 40 Russian diplomats stationed in Berlinaccording to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.
Soon after France has announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats “whose activities are contrary to the interests” of the country, according to a source close to the French foreign ministry. Denmark also decided to expel 15 Russian diplomats accusing them of being “intelligence agents” carrying out “espionage activities on Danish soil”, said the head of Danish diplomacy, Jeppe Kofod.
According to a count made by the AFP agency, around 300 Russian diplomats were expelled in total from various EU countries since the beginning of the Russian offensive. Kremlin denouncedfor its part, The “lack of vision” of Europe expelling many diplomats, as the movement implies “the reduction of the possibilities of communication in the diplomatic field in these difficult circumstances”, according to the spokesman for the Russian government, Dmitri Peskov. “This will inevitably lead to retaliatory measures,” Peskov added.
Zelensky’s request to the Security Council
In this context, it was announced that the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyenand the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, will travel to Kiev this week to meet the Ukrainian president Volodimir Zelensky. The president asked this Tuesday exclude Russia from the UN Security Council for “the worst war crimes”.
After his videoconference speech broadcast in the Security Council chamber, Zelensky broadcast a video with very harsh images of civilians killed in Ukraine. The president compared the violence in the city of bushinga neighbor of Kyiv, where dozens of bodies were found in recent days, with violent acts committed by the Islamic State (Isis), but “perpetrated by a member of the UN Security Council”.
In this sense, Zelensky called for the exclusion of Russia from the Security Council, of which he is one of the five permanent members, and for a reform of the United Nations system so that “the right of veto does not mean the right to die.” The Russian representative to the Security Council responded promptly to the allegations. “We did not come to Ukraine to conquer territories”insured Vassili Nebenzia.
“They saw corpses and heard testimonies, but they only saw what was shown to them. They cannot ignore the obvious inconsistencies in the version of events promoted by the Ukrainian and Western media, “added Nebenzia of Bucha’s film. The Russian diplomat explained that his country has evacuated “600,000 people” from Ukraine, including “more than 119,000 children”.
“And we are not talking, in any way, about people who leave under duress or kidnapped, as our Western partners describe them, but about voluntary decisions,” Nebenzia said. The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, attended the Security Council meeting and asked for an “independent” investigation to establish whether what happened in Bucha constitutes a war crime.