Russia Expels Finnish Diplomat From Moscow

Moscow's tit-for-tat actions target countries that kicked out Russian diplomats over spy assassination attempt.

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Exterior of Finnish embassy Moscow / Credit; Embassy Facebook page

The Russian government has decided to expel one diplomat from the Finnish embassy in Moscow.

In a day of retaliation, foreign ambassadors were summoned to the Russian foreign ministry to be told that some of their staff would have to leave the country.

It’s seen as a tit-for-tat move after Finland and other countries expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats earlier this week, over the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the UK at the beginning of March.

Britain blames Russia for the assassination attempt. The Russian government has denied the accusation.

The Finnish diplomat has two weeks to pack up and leave Moscow, and the embassy says Russia’s decision was not related to the activities of the diplomat: which is shorthand for saying he or she was a regular diplomat, and not engaged in espionage activities.

Finland had been waiting for a response from the Russians, and on Monday at a press conference President Sauli Niinistö said he fully expected Moscow to expel a Finnish diplomat.

The Finnish government announced the same day they would expel one Russian diplomat from the embassy in Helsinki, showing support with the UK over the spy poison attack.

Among the other countries notified today that some of their diplomats will be kicked out of Russia were UK, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Denmark.