Slovakia, a member of the European Union, said Wednesday it had decided to expel 35 Russian diplomats based on information provided by intelligence services.
The move comes a day after fellow EU countries Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and the Czech Republic all announced the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats suspected of spying, in coordinated action taken in the shadow of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
Other countries, including the United States and Poland, had earlier also expelled Russian diplomats.
Slovakia will “reduce the staff of the Russian embassy in Bratislava by 35,” foreign ministry spokesman Juraj Tomaga told AFP.
“We regret that following the previous expulsions of Russian diplomats in the last couple of years, the Russian diplomatic mission has not shown any interest in operating correctly in Slovakia,” he added.
Slovakia had already expelled three Russian diplomats for espionage earlier this month.
Prime Minister Eduard Heger showed his displeasure in a Facebook post headlined “Dasvidania,” or goodbye in Russian.
“My government will not tolerate having Russians in Slovakia, under diplomatic cover, leading massive espionage activities, corrupting our citizens, spreading disinformation and polarising our society,” Heger wrote.
In August 2020, Bratislava also expelled three Russian diplomats for “a serious crime,” with local media reporting a possible link with the killing of a former Chechen rebel in a Berlin park.
Two years ago, local media reports said there were up to 45 officially recognised Russian diplomats in Slovakia. It is unclear how many remain today.