Russia reveals diplomat recall stance

The bloc has introduced sweeping sanctions against Russia for its attack on its neighbor

There are no plans at present to order Russia’s ambassadors in the EU to pack their bags and leave the 27-member bloc, Moscow has revealed, as its military offensive in Ukraine continues to cause friction with Brussels.

Responding to journalists on Monday, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Evgeny Ivanov claimed that there is currently no such consideration on the cards. 

He responded with a simple “no” to the question of whether Russia is mulling the option amid rising tensions with Brussels over the ongoing attack on Ukraine.

Ivanov, however, detailed what new steps Russian representatives will have to take when traveling to the bloc. “There are some [newly-introduced] limitations. For example, the issuance of visas on diplomatic passports is being introduced. Previously, holders of diplomatic passports from both sides traveled in a visa-free regime,” he explained.

Relations between Moscow and Brussels have soured in the wake of Russian military action in Ukraine. The EU has terminated its visa facilitation agreement with Russia, while the Czech Republic went as far as banning all Russian citizens from receiving visas and temporary residence permits.

Brussels has announced new sanctions on Moscow for its incursion into the neighboring state, such as shutting its skies to Russian planes. In a tit-for-tat response, Russia banned all jets from EU member states from entering its airspace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would launch a “special military operation” in Ukraine last Thursday. According to the Kremlin, the intervention aims “to protect the people [of Donbass] who have been tortured for eight years by the Ukrainian regime.”

Putin also called for the complete “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine, and vowed to prosecute those who were involved in “numerous bloody crimes against civilians.” The decision followed an appeal from the leaders of the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (DPR) People’s Republics for “help in repelling Ukrainian military aggression.”

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