Russia’s foreign ministry said Saturday it has decided to expel German diplomats from Russia in what it called a tit-for-tat move, after the ministry claimed German authorities decided to further expel Russian diplomatic employees in Germany.
More than 20 German diplomats are being expelled, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in an interview on the Zvezda TV Telegram channel Saturday.
Sources from the German Federal Foreign Office told CNN that in recent weeks they had been "in contact with the Russian side on the presence of our respective missions abroad, with the aim of reducing the Russian intelligence presence in Germany."
"Today's departure of a certain number of Russian embassy staff is related to this," the German foreign ministry sources added.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it would be significantly limiting the maximum number of employees of German diplomatic missions in Russia "as a reaction to Berlin's hostile actions."
The German ambassador to Russia was notified of the decision on April 5, according to the Russian foreign ministry statement.
In April 2022, Germany expelled "a significant number" of Russian officials, and Russia expelled 40 German diplomats later that month.