In response to Sweden’s decision to expel two Russian diplomats earlier in 2021, the Russian government has announced its decision to close the Swedish Consulate in St. Petersburg and expel five Swedish diplomats.
This move follows a pattern of mutual diplomatic expulsions between the two countries. Sweden had accused the two Russian diplomats of espionage in February 2021, while Russia claims that the expelled Swedish diplomats were involved in activities incompatible with their status.
Russia has ordered the Swedish diplomats to leave the country with 14 days, and has already closed the Consulate in St. Petersburg. This is seen as another attempt to strain relations between the two countries, which have been in steady decline in recent years.
The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its dismay at the Russian decision, describing it as ”unacceptable and reprehensible” and calling for full respect of international law by Russia.
At the same time, the Ministry highlighted its commitment to upholding dialogue with Russia to work on a path towards better relations. The Swedish government is also considering a reciprocal response to the expulsions.