Russian embassy in Belgium vows response to diplomat expulsion

Russian embassy in Belgium vows response to diplomat expulsion
Russian embassy in Brussels Credit: Creative Commons

Following the expulsion of 21 Russian diplomats from Belgium under accusations of espionage, the Russian embassy in Belgium has vowed to respond to what it calls an “unfriendly act” made by Belgian authorities.

On March 29, alongside the Netherlands, Ireland and the Czech Republic, Belgium expelled 21 Russian diplomats from Brussels and Antwerp for espionage and spreading Russian influence. Russian diplomats expelled from Belgium were given 15 days to leave the country.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès has insisted that the move was “not a sanction” but rather an act to protect Belgium’s national security.

Translation: As announced in committee, Belgium decided to expel 21 people working for the Russian embassy and consulate, identified on the basis of their involvement in espionage and influence operations which threaten national security.

The Russian embassy, however, does not see it this way. At a meeting on March 29, the Russian ambassador denied the charges levelled against his diplomats.

Related News

“The ambassador dismissed these allegations as completely unfounded,” a post on the Russian embassy’s website reads, “this decision represents a serious blow to Russian-Belgian relations and goes against the traditions of cooperation between the two countries.”

Russia retaliates against Belgian sanctions

Russia has already retaliated against Belgian sanctions. In response to Belgium’s participation in European Union sanctions against Russia, Belgium was included in a list of “unfriendly nations” to Russia. All Russian debt repayments to unfriendly states will now take place in the Russian ruble. Belgians are also currently banned from travel to Russia.

In an ominous message issued by the Russian embassy, Russian diplomats threatened to hit back: “These unfriendly measures will not go unanswered.”

On February 24, Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, provoking a wave of backlash from the Western world. So far, the European Union has rolled out four packages of sanctions against Russia, starving Russia of trade and sanctioning the activities of senior Russian officials.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.