Apr 4, 2022 - World

Germany and France expel Russian diplomats after Bucha

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks to the media

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during a press conference on April 4. Photo: Tobias Schwarz - Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Germany will expel a "significant number" of Russian diplomats, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Monday in a statement, linking the expulsion to the reported atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine.

What they're saying: "The pictures from Bucha bear witness to the unbelievable brutality of the Russian leadership and of those who follow its propaganda, to a will to annihilate that transcends all borders," Baerbock said.

  • "The federal government has therefore decided today to declare a significant number of members of the Russian Embassy as undesirables, who have worked every day against our freedom and against the cohesion of our society here in Germany," she added.
  • "We are launching further responses together with our partners. We will further tighten existing sanctions against Russia, we will decisively expand our support for the Ukrainian armed forces, and we will also strengthen NATO's eastern flank."

State of play: The reported killings of civilians in Bucha — some with their hands tied behind their backs — have prompted vows of new sanctions against Russia from both President Biden and European Union leaders.

  • Russia's defense ministry has rejected the reports.
  • The expulsion order applies to 4o members of the Russian embassy's diplomatic staff who have been linked to Russia's intelligence services, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

France's Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs announced later Monday that it would also expel numerous Russian diplomats "whose activities are contrary to our security interests."

  • "This action is part of a European approach. Our first responsibility is always to ensure the security of the French and Europeans," the press release read.

The big picture: Germany is once again under pressure by other EU countries to sanction Russian energy imports in the wake of the Bucha massacre, writes Axios' Zach Basu.

Go deeper: The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis

Editor's note: This article has been updated with an announcement by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

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