Apr 11, 2022 - World

France expels 6 suspected Russian agents after uncovering "clandestine plot"

embassy of the Russian Federation in Paris

Embassy of the Russian Federation in Paris. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP via Getty Images

France has declared six Russian agents persona non grata after its domestic security agency uncovered a "clandestine operation" being conducted by Russian intelligence services, the France's Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs announced Monday.

Why it matters: Together the U.S. and Europe have expelled more than 400 Russian diplomats and embassy staff since the start of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

  • Many of the Russians declared "persona non grata" are alleged intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover.

The big picture: Details of the case are scarce, but the statement noted that the Russian agents were operating in France under diplomatic cover and their actions were deemed "contrary to our national interests."

  • The plot was uncovered following a "long investigation" by the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI).
  • Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin congratulated the DGSI agents via Twitter on a "remarkable counter-espionage operation" and confirmed that the Russian agents will be forced to leave France.
  • "Russia will respond accordingly," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in response, Russian state news agency TASS reported, per Reuters.

State of play: France announced earlier this month that it would expel numerous Russian diplomats "whose activities are contrary to our security interests" following the atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine.

  • Other countries in Europe, including Germany, Sweden and Denmark, have also expelled Russian diplomats this month.

Go deeper: U.S. and Europe crack down on Russian spies

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