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EU Ministers Seek to Restrict Russian Diplomat Movements


Eight European Union (EU) foreign ministers have called for a ban on Russian diplomats moving freely around the EU. They want diplomats restricted to the countries where they are accredited. This request was made in a letter to the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.

Concerns Over Diplomatic Activity

The letter, dated June 11 and seen by Reuters, highlights concerns over the free movement of Russian diplomats across the Schengen area. It states that this movement facilitates malign activities.

“Free movement of holders of Russian diplomatic and service passports, accredited in one host state, across the whole Schengen area is easing malign activities,” the letter stated.

Intelligence and Sabotage Concerns

The ministers expressed worries about intelligence gathering, propaganda, and sabotage by Russian diplomats. They believe these activities are a significant part of the workload for many Russian diplomats in the EU. Despite expulsions, the threat remains.

“Intelligence, propaganda, or even preparation of sabotage acts are the main workload for a large number of Russian ‘diplomats’ in the EU,” they said.

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Call for Restricted Movement

The ministers emphasised the importance of the EU adhering to the principle of reciprocity. They suggest restricting the movement of Russian diplomatic mission members and their families to their country of accreditation.

“We believe the EU should strictly follow the reciprocity principle and restrict the movement of members of Russian diplomatic missions and their family members to the territory of a state of their accreditation only,” they stated.

This measure, they argued, would significantly limit the operational space for Russian agents. The letter was signed by foreign ministers from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, and Romania.

With Inputs from Reuters