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Russia expels 5 Polish diplomats in quid pro quo move

MOSCOW — Russia expelled five Polish diplomats Friday in retaliation to Polish authorities expelling three Russian Embassy workers last week.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it summoned the Polish ambassador to inform him that the five diplomats must leave the country by May 15.

The Foreign Ministry berated Warsaw for its "deliberate course" to "destroy" relations with Russia. It denounced Polish authorities removing monuments to Soviet soldiers and accused them of seeking to undermine Russian energy projects and unleashing a "large-scale anti-Russian information campaign."

Poland said last week that it was expelling three Russian diplomats, describing the move as an act of solidarity with the United States.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry on Friday called Russian move as "yet another example of aggressive policies” and “a deliberate gesture meant to inflame relations with the neighbours and the entire international community." The ministry said Warsaw reserved the right to "an appropriate response."

The Biden administration announced sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and for involvement in the SolarWind hack of federal agencies — activities Moscow has denied. The U.S. ordered 10 Russian diplomats out of the country and imposed new curbs on Russia's ability to borrow money along with the sanctions targeting dozens of companies and individuals.

Russia’s move to expel Polish diplomats came after Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ordered the expulsion of a total of four Russian diplomats Friday. The three Baltic countries said they acted to support the Czech Republic, which engaged in a tense diplomatic showdown with Russia involving the expulsions of scores of diplomats.

The Associated Press