MOSCOW, April 28. /TASS/. Russia is expelling two employees of the Lithuanian Embassy and one employee of the Latvian and Estonian embassies each based on the principle of reciprocity, giving them seven days to leave the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The ministry pointed out that on Wednesday, Latvian Ambassador to Moscow Maris Riekstins, Lithuanian Ambassador Eitvydas Bajarunas and Minister-Counsellor of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow Piret Reintamm Benno were summoned by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"A resolute protest was expressed to the heads of diplomatic missions over the provocative and unfounded expulsions of employees of Russian embassies in these Baltic states. It was noted that Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn continue an overtly hostile course with regards to our country, hiding behind pseudo-solidarity with the Czech Republic’s indiscriminate actions against Russia," the ministry stressed. "Based on the principle of reciprocity, we demanded that two employees of the Lithuanian Embassy and one employee of the Latvian and Estonian embassy each leave the territory of the Russian Federation within seven days."
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia said on April 23 they were expelling Russian diplomats (one from Latvia, one from Estonia and two from Lithuania) for indulging in activities incompatible with the diplomatic status. On April 22, Slovakia declared three Russian diplomats personae non gratae. The four countries’ authorities said these steps had been taken in solidarity with the Czech Republic, which accuses Moscow of involvement in the ammunition depot blasts in Vrbetice in 2014. On April 17, Czech officials announced a decision to expel 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague, who were allegedly "officers of Russian intelligence services." The Russian Foreign Ministry lodged a strong protest to the Czech government and declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Russia’s capital personae non gratae.