Sweden retaliates for Russian expulsion of Diplomat as Borrell crisis deepens

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Ann Linde announced on Monday the expulsion of a Russian diplomat by way of response to a similar Russian action, in the latest fallout from European Council chief Josep Borrell's disastrous trip to Moscow last week.

Whilst Borrell was still present in Moscow Russia expelled three diplomats, from Sweden, Germany and Poland, for allegedly taking part in "illegal demonstrations" in support of oppositionist activist Alexei Navalny on January 23rd.

The expulsions were announced shortly after Borrell met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, delivering a strong message to the European Council chief who had not been personally informed of the move, who had raised Navalny's case with the Russian.

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The meeting was widely considered a major error of judgement by Borrell, who was completely outmanoeuvred by Lavrov.

"Holding a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while the leading opposition politician Alexei Navalny is again on politically motivated trials, does not help his case and is a slap in the face of all those who defend democracy", said Sandra Kalniete MEP, EPP Group Vice president in charge of Foreign Affairs.

"The High Representative's visit to Moscow would make sense only if he visited Alexei Navalny and held extensive talks with those who stand by democracy. The reality is that Mr Borrell he did not even try to meet Mr Navalny."

On Monday a cross-party group of more than 70 MEPs issued a letter calling for Borrell's resignation or dismissal.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon


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