The expulsion of five members of the Croatian embassy in Moscow is not legitimate and Croatia will consider its response to Moscow, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) said in a press release on Friday.
Earlier on Friday, Russia’s foreign ministry said that it was expelling five staff members of the Croatian embassy in Moscow in response to Zagreb ordering out some of its staff, Reuters reported in the morning.
Croatia’s ministry said that the decision on expelling those five staff members has no grounds, as they are employees who have professionally performed their duties in line with the relevant Vienna convention, and Zagreb also explains that so far the number of the personnel in Croatia’s embassy has corresponded to the number of the employees in Russia’s embassy in Zagreb.
“Therefore, Croatia will analyse this decision of the Russian authorities and will consider further steps and actions.”
Croatia and its partners pursue a principled policy in the respect for international law and condemnation of Russia’s aggression as well as in providing Ukraine with further assistance, says the Croatian ministry.
Moscow has declared five employees of Croatia’s embassy in Russia personae non gratae, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on Friday as carried by the TASS news agency.
“In response to hostile steps taken earlier by Zagreb to reduce the size of Russia’s diplomatic mission, (Croatian ambassador) Tomislav Car received a note which declares five employees of the Croatian Embassy in Moscow personae non gratae,” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reported.
It notes that a “strong protest was expressed to Croatia’s ambassador because of unfounded attempts by Croatian authorities to blame Russia for war crimes in Ukraine and provide military assistance to the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”
On 11 April Croatia announced that it had expelled 18 Russian diplomats and six administrative staff serving in Zagreb.
A day later the Russian Federation slammed the expulsion of the diplomats and sent a strong protest to Croatia’s authorities and threatened to reciprocate.