Apr 5, 2022 - World

Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain expel Russian diplomats after Bucha discoveries

A car driving past the Russian embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, in February 2021.

A car driving past the Russian embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, in February 2021. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain announced separately Tuesday that they will expel dozens of Russian diplomats following similar expulsions from other European Union countries.

Why it matters: Several EU members, including Germany and France, have now announced Russian dismissals after evidence surfaced of atrocities in the Ukrainian town of Bucha in the wake of Russia's military withdrawal from northern Ukraine.

By the numbers: Italy said it expelled 30 Russian diplomats, while Spain said it will order 25 to leave, Denmark 15 and Sweden three.

  • All four countries said the diplomats were either not acting in accordance with international rules or pose a national security threat to their governments.
  • Russian media reported that the Russian foreign ministry intends to at least respond to Italy's expulsions, though retaliative actions are expected to be announced against other countries.

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

  • Russia's defense ministry rejected the accusations, saying no civilians were injured or killed while its soldiers controlled the town.
  • Satellite images of Bucha refute those claims, showing several bodies of dead civilians lying in streets weeks before Ukrainian forces reclaimed control, according to the New York Times.

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