In a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by João Gomes Cravinho, they explain that the “activities” of those officials are “contrary to national security” and state that the Government has notified the Russian ambassador.
Stressing that none of the officials expelled from the country is a career diplomat, the Government refers to “the firm and vehement condemnation of Russian aggression on Ukrainian territory”.
The decision of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs follows the line of several other European countries, who have announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats in recent days.
According to the French news agency AFP, the number of Russian diplomats expelled from several European Union countries since the invasion of Ukraine amounts to at least 260.
Since yesterday, several countries have been announcing expulsions of Russian diplomats from their territories. This has been the case in Denmark and Italy, which announced the expulsion of 15 and 30 Russian diplomats, respectively, and Spain, which decided to send 25 diplomats and Russian embassy personnel out of the country, considering that they “represent a threat to security”.
Lithuania also announced the expulsion of the Russian ambassador, as did Estonia, Latvia, Sweden and Slovenia, which in total expelled 63 Russian diplomats and officials, accusing them of “illegal espionage activities” and representing a regime that committed “war crimes” in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.
For its part, the European Union (EU) added to the list of sanctions against Russia the expulsion from Brussels of dozens of Russian politicians and businessmen, as well as restrictions on four banks.
“We are expanding the sanctions lists, adding dozens of people from politics to the business sector and involved in propaganda activities, and even more entities from the financial sector, the military industry and transport, including four important Russian banks that, in addition to being excluded from the Swift system, they will also be prohibited from participating in any financial transitions in the EU”, said, in a statement, the head of diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell.
The EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy added that he had also decided to “designate ‘persona non grata’ several members of the Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the EU for involvement in activities contrary to their diplomatic status.”
In recent days, dozens of dead civilians have been found in Bucha, a city 60 kilometres from Kyiv that was occupied for several weeks by Russian troops and was recently retaken by the Ukrainians.
Many of the dead were scattered on the street or in mass graves, with Ukrainian authorities and their allies accusing Russian soldiers of committing these crimes.
Moscow has absolutely rejected any responsibility and said that Kyiv had staged it, promising to give “a tailored response” to the wave of expulsions of its diplomats.