Germany closes Russian consulates in a retaliatory transfer, and Moscow is livid

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany mentioned on Slot Wednesday it will shut 4 out of 5 Russian consulates by revoking their licences, in a reciprocal transfer after Moscow’s choice to restrict the variety of German officers in Russia to 350.

The transfer marks a pointy drop in bilateral ties amid a broader breakdown in ties since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early final 12 months.

Russia has denounced the proposed closures as ill-considered and provocative and mentioned it will retaliate.

The German International Ministry accused Moscow of escalating tensions by imposing limits on the numbers of German officers. “This unjustified choice forces the federal authorities to make very vital cuts in all areas of its presence in Russia,” a spokesperson mentioned.

The Russian authorities will nonetheless be allowed to function its embassy in Berlin and one consulate common, the ministry mentioned, however Germany expects the remainder to be out of enterprise by the tip of the 12 months.

Germany will shut its personal consulates in Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk, leaving solely the German embassy in Moscow and the consulate in St Petersburg in operation.

In Moscow, the Russian International Ministry denounced what it described as “one other unfriendly step aimed toward additional destruction” of bilateral relations. In a press release, she mentioned, with out elaborating, that Berlin’s actions “won’t go unanswered on our half.”

Relations between Russia and Germany, as soon as the most important purchaser of Russian oil and fuel, have collapsed because the invasion in February 2022 and the West responded with sanctions and arms provides.

Germany plans to take away dozens of workers working at its missions in Russia after Moscow imposed restrictions on the numbers allowed to work within the nation.

Extra reporting by Caleb Davis and David Ljungren; Writing by Frederick Heine and Mathias Williams; Modifying by Madeline Chambers, Allison Williams, and John Stonestreet

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