Europe

Russia expels 2 Dutch diplomats in tit-for-tat move

Netherlands in December expelled 2 Russian diplomats over alleged 'spying'

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak   | 18.01.2021
Russia expels 2 Dutch diplomats in tit-for-tat move

ANKARA 

Russia on Monday expelled two Dutch diplomats in a reciprocal move after the Netherlands expelled two Russian diplomats at the end of last year.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Dutch Charge d'Affaires Joost Reintjes was summoned to the ministry to be told the decision.

"It was announced to the representative of the Dutch Embassy that the Russian side made a decision, being guided by the principle of reciprocity, to expel two diplomatic staffers of the Dutch Embassy in Moscow from the Russian Federation. They will be obligated to leave Russian territory within two weeks," said the statement.

The Netherlands on Dec. 10 expelled two diplomats working at the Russian embassy over allegations of spying. An intelligence officer -- who worked as an accredited diplomat at the Russian Embassy -- was engaged in spying activities in the field of technology and science and built a substantial network of sources, all of which are or have been active in the Dutch high-tech sector, said a statement by Dutch intelligence agency AIVD.

The Russian intelligence officer was interested in information about artificial intelligence, semiconductors and nanotechnology, and most of this technology is useful in both civil and military applications, the statement said.

The other Russian intelligence officer, who was also accredited as a diplomat at the Russian Embassy in The Hague, played a supporting role, it said.

Both diplomats worked for the Russian intelligence service SVR, it said, adding they were declared "persona non grata" by the Foreign Ministry.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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