Linde: We can reply to Russian determination to expel diplomats

Foreign Minister Ann Linde says that Sweden, Poland and Germany will coordinate their responses to Russia’s decision to expel diplomats from the three countries.

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– We will respond in a clear way within a very short time, says Linde (S) in SVT’s program Agenda on Sunday night.

It was on Friday that Moscow made it clear that a diplomat from Sweden, Germany and Poland would be deported. Russia claims that the Swedish diplomat has participated in a demonstration which, according to the Russian news agency Interfax, was held in St. Petersburg on January 23.
“Completely unacceptable”

According to Linde, the diplomat she spoke to only observed the demonstration and did not participate.

– It’s part of a diplomat’s job.

She calls the Russian action “completely unacceptable” and says that Sweden, Poland and Germany over the weekend have come to a line on how to deal with it.

The Russian ambassador to Sweden will also be called up to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to Linde.

When asked if it could be the case that Sweden in response expels a Russian diplomat, which, among others, the Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson demanded, she answers:

– It may very well become relevant.
Possible with sanctions

The Swedish stance is supported by EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who had just met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow when the news of the deportations came.

According to Borrell, the EU must decide on consequences for Russia, as Russia “does not want to take the opportunity to hold a more constructive dialogue with the EU”, he writes according to the news agency AFP.

“It is up to the member states to decide what the next step is, and that could include sanctions,” it added.

“It seems that Russia is increasingly distancing itself from Europe and beginning to regard democratic values ​​as existential threats,” wrote Borrell, a former foreign minister in Spain.

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