France and Germany have expelled Russian diplomats linked to spy agencies as a first response to the killing of Ukrainian civilians in the town of Bucha.
While Germany expelled 40 staff members at the Russian embassy in Berlin on Monday, France followed suit by expelling 35 diplomats, Foreign Ministry officials said.
German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, in a statement on Monday, said images of the Bucha victims show “the unbelievable brutality of the Russian leadership” and those who follow its propaganda.
“The federal government has therefore decided today to declare as persona non grata a significant number of members of the Russian embassy who have worked every day against our freedom and against the cohesion of our society here in Germany,” she said.
Baerbock added that there was a fear that similar images as what is being seen in Bucha might emerge from other areas in Ukraine occupied by Russian troops.
Baerbock described the diplomats’ presence “as a threat” to the more than 300,000 Ukrainians “who have sought protection here” since the invasion began.
“We will no longer tolerate that, we communicated that to the Russian ambassador this afternoon,” she said.
The French Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said:
“France decided this evening to expel a number of Russian personnel with diplomatic status stationed in France whose activities are against our security interests.”