Berlin and Moscow~ have had deteriorating diplomatic ties since the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated. On Wednesday, a representative for Germany’s foreign ministry announced that the country has requested that Russia close four consulates located within its territory. We have decided to revoke authorisation for the functioning of four of the five Russian consulates currently operating in Germany,” the spokeswoman added.
The Kremlin has recently placed stricter limits on the number of personnel that the German embassy and cultural organisations in Russia can hire from Berlin. The ongoing dispute between the two countries has been described as a “diplomatic declaration of war” by a German publication. The German Embassy and other German-affiliated organizations in Russia, such as the Goethe Institute language school, have been subject to new hiring restrictions since April. Hundreds of German diplomats, professors, and personnel will be forced to leave Russia once the law goes into effect on June 1.
Reuters cited a German foreign ministry official as stating, “This limit, set by Russia for the beginning of June, requires a major cut in all areas of our presence in Russia.” The two countries declared forty employees of their embassies personae non grata at the beginning of April and expelled them. In response, the German foreign ministry released a statement reading, “In view of this unilateral, unjustified, and incomprehensible decision, the Federal Government is now concerned with ensuring a minimum presence of intermediaries in Russia while also maintaining a diplomatic presence.”
Since the crisis between Russia and Ukraine began, several Russian diplomats have been removed from European countries. Four European countries dismissed at least 40 Russian diplomats in March on suspicion of spying. Russia and Germany traditionally have strong cultural and economic ties; yet, in the last 15 months, this has all flipped upside down. Russia has blamed Berlin for a worsening of the situation in Ukraine since it announced in January that it would be sending Leopard 2 tanks to the country. The Russian Federation immediately accused Germany of ignoring its “historical responsibility to Russia” in light of Nazi atrocities during World War II after this declaration was made.
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