'Unfriendly Step': Moscow Vows to Retaliate After North Macedonia Ousts Five Russian Diplomats
11:33 GMT 28.03.2022 (Updated: 15:31 GMT 28.03.2022)
© AFP 2023 / DIMITAR DILKOFFThis picture taken on March 18, 2021, shows the Kremlin towers in front of the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters. - Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 18 mocked Joe Biden for calling him a "killer" -- saying "it takes one to know one" -- as ties between Moscow and Washington sunk to new lows. US President Biden's comments sparked the biggest crisis between Russia and the United States in years, with Moscow recalling ambassador and warning that ties were on the brink of outright "collapse."
© AFP 2023 / DIMITAR DILKOFF
According to North Macedonian news agency MIA, the Russian ambassador received a diplomatic note on the step earlier today.
The Russian foreign ministry has vowed to retaliate after North Macedonia expelled five Russian diplomats. Moscow slammed the decision and stressed that Skopje was "thoughtlessly sacrificing its sovereignty" with such an "unfriendly step".
Earlier in the day, North Macedonia also declared several Russian diplomats persona non grata.
"Russian Ambassador to North Macedonia Sergei Bazdnikin was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday to receive a diplomatic note in which five employees of the Russian Embassy are listed as persona non grata", the news agency reported.
The step was announced by Skopje just about a week after 10 Russian diplomats were declared persona non grata in neighbouring Bulgaria.
In a parallel development, Moscow has decided to expel three Slovak diplomats in a tit-for-tat move. They have been ordered to leave Russia within 72 hours. Three Russian diplomats were ousted from Slovakia earlier in March, claiming that the actions of the said employees were "incompatible with the Vienna Convention". However, Bratislava did not specify which part of the convention they had breached. Moscow slammed the step, saying it is another part of the anti-Russian campaign in Europe.