Moscow, February 5: Russia on Friday expelled diplomats from European countries. The diplomats of Germany, Sweden and Poland were expelled for "illegally" participating in protests supporting Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Russia's foreign ministry said that such actions of the diplomats were not acceptable and did not correspond to their diplomatic status. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V Lavrov Warns US, EU For Supporting Alexei Navalny.

The development came after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. According to Borrell, he got to know about the development after the talks. He asked Moscow to reconsider the decision.

Russia's decision drew flak from European leaders. Poland warned that diplomat's expulsion from Russia could hurt ties. Meanwhile, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said that expulsion of the diplomats could not be justified. French President Emmanuel Macron also condemned Moscow's decision. Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Allegedly Poisoned, Hospitalised in Siberia.

The Kremlin critic was detained on January 17 after he landed at a Moscow airport from Germany, where he had received medical treatment for alleged poisoning. Navalny's detention sparked the mass protests in major Russian cities, including capital Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yakutsk, Omsk and Yekaterinburg, during the past two weekends as his supporters took to the streets demanding his release. Western countries are pressurising Moscow to free him.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 05, 2021 10:15 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website