The German authorities have said that several hundred civil servants of the country, such as diplomats, teachers as well as employees of the Goethe Institut, must leave Russia following such a request from the latter.
The move that has sparked diplomatic tensions was not received well, with the German authorities saying that this is an unjustified decision, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Despite Russia deciding to force hundreds of German civil servants to leave the country, the authorities of Germany have said that the country will remain committed to maintaining a presence in Russia, suggesting that some servants will continue remaining there.
According to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Foreign Office of Germany confirmed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia implemented a personnel cap on German foreign missions and intermediary organisations, set to take effect from the beginning of next month.
The same explained that the decision of Russia is linked to the reduction of the Russian Intelligence service in Germany.
The implementation of the cap on the number of personnel means that Germany will now be forced to make significant reductions in its presence in Russia, with the effect to be felt soon.
Commenting on the matter, a Federal Foreign Office representative said over the weekend that this limitation imposed by the Russian authorities would require “major cuts across all areas of our [Germany’s] presence in Russia”.
The same stressed that this was “a unilateral, unjustified, and incomprehensible decision” by Russia.
The priority of the German government now is reducing the number of mediators in Russia to a minimum while maintaining a presence in the country, the Federal Foreign Office said.
The forced departure of German civil servants from Russia marks a significant strain in the bilateral relations between these two countries.
The move comes amid already heightened tensions following the introduction of sanctions, and it still remains to be seen how this recent development will impact diplomatic ties as well as cooperation efforts between Germany and Russia.
Moreover, it must be stressed that the presence of Germany in Russia extends beyond diplomatic ties. The departure of employees and teachers from the Goethe Institut is expected to have implications for the educational and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Russia is not the only one that has required the departure of EU civil servants and diplomats. Sweden is one of the EU countries that just recently expelled five Russian embassy officials.
According to the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry, the decision to expel the Russian diplomats was taken due to their activities not being compatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.