Germany orders closure of four out of five Russian consulates in tit-for-tat move

Germany ousts diplomats

The German government said Wednesday that it has told Russia to close four out of five consulates in Germany in a tit-for-tat move after Moscow set a limit for the number of staff at the German embassy and related bodies in Russia.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christofer Burger told reporters in Berlin that the measure is intended to create a “parity of personnel and structures” between the two countries.

The Russian government recently said that an upper limit of 350 German government officials, including those working in cultural bodies and schools, can remain in Russia. Burger said this means Germany will have to shut its consulates in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Kaliningrad by November. Only the embassy in Moscow and the consulate in St. Petersburg will remain open, he said.

He said Russia will be allowed to continue operating the embassy in Berlin and one further consulate after the end of the year.

The move reflects a new low in relations between Moscow and Berlin since Russia's attack on Ukraine in February 2022.

Burger said the move was regrettable, but added that the war meant there was “simply no basis” for numerous bilateral activities between the two countries anymore.

“But it is the behavior of the Russian side that has brought us into this situation,” he said.

Burger said Germany's decision to concentrate its remaining staff in the embassy and a key consulate will “preserve the diplomatic presence in Russia.”

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