Russia expels EU diplomats in Navalny row

Russia has expelled three diplomats from Germany, Sweden and Poland for joining protests in support of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who was jailed earlier this week.

The Russian foreign ministry said the three took part in "illegal demonstrations" on January 23rd. The diplomats' home countries have condemned the expulsions, as have the UK, France and the EU.

The expulsions were announced just a few hours after EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, and may, it has been speculated, have been timed to undermine the EU.

Borrell said he "strongly condemned this decision and rejected the allegations that they conducted activities incompatible with their status as foreign diplomats".

Lavrov said any European sanctions over Mr Navalny's treatment would be illegitimate.

Both Germany and Poland said they had summoned their respective Russian ambassadors to express concern over the expulsions - a move that could possibly lead to tit-for-tat measures and more diplomats being sent home.

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