Russia’s foreign ministry on Thursday said it had declared seven employees of the Danish embassy in Moscow ‘persona non grata’ in response to a similar move by Copenhagen last month, with Moscow also objecting to Denmark’s military assistance to Ukraine.
The ministry said Denmark’s openly anti-Russian policy was seriously damaging bilateral relations and that Russia reserved the right to take additional steps in response.
Denmark’s foreign ministry confirmed in an emailed statement it had been informed that four diplomats and three other employees at its embassy in Moscow would be expelled.
“It is a completely unjustified and deeply problematic decision, which underlines that Russia no longer wants real dialogue and diplomacy,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said.
In line with steps taken by other European Union countries, Denmark a month ago expelled 15 Russian employees at the embassy in Copenhagen, following reports of mass graves being found and of civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
Kofod said on Thursday that the 15 expelled employees had been Russian intelligence agents and not diplomats.
Moscow, which called Denmark’s expulsion last month “unjustified,” has claimed that images of executed civilians in Bucha were fake products of Ukrainian and Western propaganda aimed at discrediting Russia.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to disarm its neighbor and protect its Russian-speaking population from fascists. Kyiv and the West say the fascist allegation is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked act of aggression.