Russia says it will adequately respond to the expulsion of two of its diplomats from Berlin, amid tensions between Moscow and the West.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a Telegram post on Wednesday, “Berlin's unfriendly actions will not remain without an adequate response. In the near future, a statement will be made in this regard.”
Meanwhile, Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy head of the Russian upper chamber's international affairs committee, said Berlin's decision will prevent the new government from improving ties with Moscow.
Earlier, Germany's newly-appointed Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the country had declared two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin undesirable persons. The move is linked to a high-profile murder case blamed on Moscow.
Also on Wednesday, a Berlin court convicted Vadim Krasikov, 56, with links to Russia’s FSB intelligence service, of the August 2019 killing of Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili and sentenced him to life in prison. The court’s chief judge said the assailant was acting on Russian state orders.
Russia's Ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechayev immediately denounced what he called a "political" ruling against a backdrop of "general anti-Russian sentiment."
“We consider this verdict to be a biased, politically-motivated decision that seriously aggravates already difficult Russian-German relations.”
Russia and Western countries have had rubbing points in relations over a series of diplomatic expulsions and mutual espionage claims in the past few months.
In April, Russia ordered 10 American diplomats to leave the country after the United States expelled Russian diplomats. It also explained that US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan was advised to leave for Washington for consultations.
The US and the European Union (EU) have also slapped sanctions against a number of Russian officials and companies. In response, Moscow denounced the sanctions as the “triumph of absurdity over reason” and “an excuse to continue open interference in our internal affairs.”
A German government source said on Tuesday that the EU had been in talks with the United States and Britain about possible financial sanctions on Russia in the case of an offensive on Ukraine. Senior officials in Moscow have time and again warned that Europe would be the one to suffer from the United States’ unilateral sanctions against Moscow since the sanctions are only aimed at promoting Washington's commercial interests.