The three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, expelled ten Russian diplomats on Friday.
Estonia and Latvia each expelled three diplomats, while Lithuania declared four employees of the Russian embassy in the capital, Vilnius, “persona non grata.”
The similar wording of the three announcements suggests that the expelled Russians worked for Moscow’s intelligence services and that these services were complicit in planning the invasion of Ukraine.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars Rinkevics said in a statement that his decision to expel three Russians “was taken in solidarity with Ukraine in its fight against the gratuitous and unjustifiable Russian military aggression against Ukraine, in the planning and implementation of which representatives of the security services of Russia.”
Regarding the expulsion of three people from the Russian embassy in Estonia, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that they were directly and actively involved in undermining Estonia’s security and spreading propaganda to justify Russia’s military action, according to local media.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, said that four employees of the Russian embassy in Lithuania were declared “persona non grata” for their activities incompatible with diplomatic status and asked to leave the country within five days, reported the portal of the public broadcaster lrt.lt.
The wording used in the Lithuanian statement also suggests that the expelled Russians were involved in espionage activities.
All three statements also condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that “Russia’s military attacks on civilians, civilian facilities, hospitals, schools, maternity hospitals and cultural facilities are war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
For its part, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “by continuing its large-scale military action against Ukraine, Russia is violating both international law and its voluntarily adopted international commitments in the most flagrant manner.”
Meanwhile, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Russia to return to respecting international law.
The three Baltic countries have been affected by the war in Ukraine with the arrival, since the start, of the war last February 24 of tens of thousands of refugees, burdened with personal stories of Russian shelling and destruction of civilian targets such as schools, hospitals and residential neighborhoods.