Over 100 diplomatic staff and teachers working for German cultural organization Goethe-Instituts are scheduled to leave Russia by June following a ruling from the Russian government, according to a Saturday report from German news agency Suddeutsche Zeitung. The report suggested that after the German Federal Foreign Office aimed to reduce the presence of Russian intelligence services in Germany, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs followed through with their decision made in April to limit the number of German diplomatic staff in Russia by June.
Russian news agency TASS reported that Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the move “Russophobic.” She told the German Press Agency (DPA) that the German Federal Foreign Office is “lying and acting in secret.”
Germany’s Federal Foreign Office confirmed the move to the press on Saturday, though they did not specify the exact amount of staff to be expelled.
In March 2022, Germany joined other European countries in expelling Russian diplomats as persona non grata as suspected spies. Germany expelled roughly 30 Russian diplomats. The move was largely attributed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has strained ties between Russia and Germany. Just this week, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution—or the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV)—warned against rising levels of anti-government extremism in the midst of provocation from authoritarian states, such as Russia.