BERLIN: In a tit-for-tat move, the governments of Poland, Germany and Sweden have expelled Russian diplomats in direct response to Moscow's expulsion of officials from the three European nations over their participation in rallies against the detention of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
On February 5, the Russian Foreign Ministry had declared the Swedish, Polish and German diplomats personae non gratae due of their participation in the January 23 "unauthorized rallies" in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Representatives of these countries' embassies were summoned to the Russian Ministry and handed notes of protest.
In a statement on Monday, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that it would take what it called appropriate steps if the "groundless expulsion" of its diplomat was not reconsidered, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Ministry said the decision was taken "in coordination with Germany and Sweden to consider the Russian diplomat as a persona non grata". The expelled diplomat worked at the Russian Consulate in Poznan, Poland's fifth largest city.
Also on Monday, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany said that Russia's decision to expel the diplomats "was not justified in any way".
It added that the German diplomat was merely carrying out his task of reporting developments on the spot in a legal fashion. (IANS)