Russian response to expulsion of intelligence officers by the Netherlands

Today, the Dutch ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry. Once there, he was informed that Russia intended to expel 15 staff members of the Dutch embassy in Moscow and the consulate-general in St Petersburg.

This is a response to the expulsion by the Netherlands of 17 intelligence officers who were posing as diplomats at the Russian embassy in the Netherlands.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra said, β€˜It was to be expected that Russia would take countermeasures. Nevertheless, this is a regrettable step. We are going to study the situation and determine what the departure of so many staff from Moscow and St Petersburg will mean.’

The staff concerned have two weeks to leave Russia. Ambassador Gilles Plug and the small team that remains will work with the local Russian employees to continue carrying out the core tasks of the embassy and consulate-general as effectively as possible.