What’s behind Germany’s decision to order the closure of 4 Russian consulates?
DW, 01 Jun 2023
The German Foreign Ministry on Wednesday announced that Berlin was revoking the licenses of four of the five Russian consulates in a retaliatory measure against Moscow.
The move comes after the Russian government set an upper limit of 350 for the number of German government officials, including those working in cultural institutions and schools, who can stay in Russia.
Moscow decried Germany's decision as an "ill-thought out" move and vowed a response. "There should be no doubt in Berlin that these ill-thought out provocative actions will not remain without our proper reaction," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
A German Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters that the measure was intended to create a "parity of personnel and structures" between the two countries.
The spokesman said Russia had "taken a step of escalation" in limiting the German presence. "This unjustified decision is forcing the German government to make a very significant cut in all areas of its presence in Russia," he said.
After the end of the year, Russia will only be allowed to continue operating the embassy in Berlin and one further consulate.
"This was communicated to the Russian Foreign Ministry today," the official added. He said, that while the move was regrettable, the Ukraine war meant there was "simply no basis" for many bilateral activities between the two countries.
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