Russia expels two Dutch diplomats in tit-for-tat move


The expulsion of diplomats marks the latest diplomatic incident between the two states, already at odds over the murder trial in the Netherlands of three Russians for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.(Filee pic shows the trial at the Hague court. - Reuters)

MOSCOW: Russia's foreign ministry on Monday expelled two Dutch diplomats in a tit-for-tat move after the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from The Hague in December for espionage.

The two Russians were accused of spying on the Dutch high-tech sector. Russia's embassy in The Hague at the time said the Netherlands had presented no evidence of unlawful acts by the Russian diplomats.

Russia's foreign ministry said on Monday the decision was based on the principle of reciprocity and that the two diplomats had two weeks to leave Russia.

Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok in a statement said there was no justification for expelling the two diplomats, who he said had done nothing wrong.

The expulsion of diplomats marks the latest diplomatic incident between the two states, already at odds over the murder trial in the Netherlands of three Russians for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The Dutch government last month said it would review legal options to fight espionage by foreign diplomats in the Netherlands, who currently enjoy immunity from prosecution.

- Reuters
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MH17 , Malaysia Airlines , Russia , Dutch , Malaysia , espionage , trial ,

   

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