3rd Dec 2023

EU wave of Russian diplomat expulsions growing

  • Civilian corpses in the streets of Bucha, near Kyiv (Photo: Ukraine foreign ministry)
Listen to article

Italy, Denmark, Spain, and Sweden have joined the EU's mass-expulsion of Russian diplomats after reports of Russian atrocities in Ukraine.

Italy, one of the most pro-Russian EU countries, threw out 30 Russians on Tuesday (5 April), saying it was needed "for reasons related to our national security".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Russia's EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov (Photo:

Spain booted out 25 more due to "the terrible actions carried out in the past days in Ukraine especially in Bucha and the ones reported today from Mariupol", Spanish foreign minister José Manuel Albares said, referring to two Ukrainian towns.

Denmark expelled 15, with foreign minister Jeppe Kofod tying the move to reports of Russian torture and murder of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians. "This is another example of brutality, cruelty and war crimes, which apparently have taken place in Bucha," Kofod said.

Latvia (13 expulsions) and Sweden (3) also joined the wave of defenestrations.

That brought the total number of post-Bucha massacre EU expulsions to 162 after Germany, France, and Lithuania ejected 76 Russian diplomats, including Russia's ambassador in Vilnius, on Monday.

EU countries are also planning a new round of economic sanctions amid emotional appeals by Ukrainian officials.

"Every euro, every cent you [Europe] receive from or send to Russia has blood; it is bloody money," Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said Wednesday after visiting Bucha, which he called a "genocide of Ukrainians".

The UN should create a special court to try Russian war criminals the way it did those of former Yugoslavia, Oleksiy Arestovych, a Ukrainian presidential aide, also said.

Speaking in Vienna Wednesday, Michael Carpenter, a senior US diplomat said the multiplication of eyewitness accounts and forensic evidence of civilian rape, torture, and extra-judicial executions by Russian soldiers coming out of Ukraine "suggest these are not the acts of a rogue soldier or two — they are part of a broader troubling pattern".

"The callousness with which Russia's authorities have treated the news from Bucha is also worth dwelling on briefly," Carpenter, who is the US ambassador to the Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also said.

"As photos of bloodied civilian corpses with hands tied behind their backs emerged on Saturday, Russian [foreign ministry] spokesperson Maria Zakharova tweeted about the injustice of being turned away from a Chanel store," he said.

Zakharova is already on an EU sanctions list.


Meanwhile, the Russian mission to the EU continued circulating lies about the war to its mailing list of Brussels-based journalists even as the Bucha evidence came to light.

In its latest press release, published Monday, it also complained that EUobserver had caused "insult" to its EU ambassador, Vladimir Chizhov, by its choice of vocabulary in an op-ed.

Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Poland expelled 108 Russian diplomats in March on grounds they were guilty of espionage.

But Belgian authorities have let Chizhov stay for now, even though some Western intelligence services see him as the Kremlin's main channel of disinformation and influence in the EU capital.

"Chizhov should be PNG-ed [Persona Non Grata-ed] ASAP," one EU diplomat told EUobserver.

"We regret the reduction of the possibilities of communicating at the diplomatic level in these difficult conditions," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

Ukraine will prevail, says defiant Kharkiv leader

Tetiana Yehorova-Lutsenko is Kharkiv's regional council leader. Along with her two boys, they hid in a basement for two weeks amid Russian aerial bombardment. On Wednesday, she met Ukrainian refugees at a Polish train station.

Russia loses seat on board of chemical weapons watchdog

Russia lost its seat on the board of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for the first time in the organisation's history — while Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania were elected to the executive council.


'Loss and Damage' reparations still hang in balance at COP28

There is still work to be done — especially when it comes to guaranteeing the Global North's participation in financing Loss and Damage, and ensuring the Global South has representation and oversight on the World Bank's board.

Latest News

  1. Israel's EU ambassador: 'No clean way to do this operation'
  2. Brussels denies having no 'concern' on Spain's amnesty law
  3. Dubai's COP28 — a view from the ground
  4. Germany moves to criminalise NGO search-and-rescue missions
  5. Israel recalls ambassador to Spain in new diplomatic spat
  6. Migrant return bill 'obstructed' as EU states mull new position
  7. Paris and Berlin key to including rape in gender-violence directive
  8. What are the big money debates at COP28 UN climate summit?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  3. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  4. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  5. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  6. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  3. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  4. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us