German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on the situation with the expulsion of diplomats from Russia, calling it unfounded. She stated this at a press conference following a virtual meeting of the Defense and Security Council of Germany and France, in which French President Emmanuel Macron also took part, RIA Novosti reported.
“During the meeting, we took note of the information on the expulsion of German, Swedish and Polish diplomats from Moscow in connection with the demonstrations against [Alexei] Navalny ( founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation – FBK, included by the Ministry of Justice in the register of organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent ). We consider this expulsion unjustified and consider that this is another manifestation of the departure from the principles of the rule of law, which can now be observed in Russia, ”the Chancellor said.
Earlier on February 5, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of three foreign diplomats for participating in unauthorized rallies in support of Alexei Navalny.
On February 2, the Simonovsky Court of Moscow replaced Alexei Navalny's suspended sentence with a real one, sentencing him to 3.5 years in a general regime colony. However, he will spend two years and eight months in custody – he was credited with the year of house arrest he was under during the preliminary investigation of the Yves Rocher case.