Russia is expelling two employees of the Dutch embassy. The expulsion is a reaction to the expulsion from the Netherlands of two Russian diplomats who were exposed as spies by the AIVD.
The two were declared persona non grata in December and had to leave the country. They were suspected of espionage in the Dutch high-tech sector. The Russian embassy then said that the Netherlands could not provide evidence for the accusations against the Russians.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants the Dutch to leave the country within two weeks. According to correspondent David Jan Godfroid, not much is known about the deportation yet. “In a short statement, the authorities say that the Dutch engaged in activities that were not in line with the status of diplomats,” he says on NPO Radio 1.
The Dutch ambassador Joost Reintjes was called upon by the foreign ministry. “There he was told that the deportation of the two Russians in December was unfriendly and provocative,” said Godfroid. Moscow spoke of “anti-Russian hysteria” which would show “the lack of common sense and understanding in Dutch power circles of the real problems in the context of Russian-Dutch relations”.
Relations between the Netherlands and Russia were already very bad, Godfroid says. “That has everything to do with the MH17 case.” The Netherlands points to Russia as the main responsible for the disaster. Russia has always firmly denied responsibility.