Romania Expels 40 Russian Diplomats and Embassy Staff
Forty Russian diplomats and embassy staff have been expelled from Romania due to the deteriorating relations between the two countries over the war in Ukraine, according to Euronews.
The employees and their families departed Romania over the weekend on a special flight organized by the Russian authorities from Bucharest.
The staff reduction at the Russian embassy is more than half of its initial size after the expulsion of 11 Russian diplomats immediately following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there was a need to downsize the staff at the Russian embassy to a level close to that of the Romanian embassy in Moscow.
As per Romania's decision from June 8th of this year, Russia is required to reduce its embassy staff by 51 positions, meaning the elimination of 21 diplomatic positions and 30 technical-administrative positions. In practice, Russia is expected to reduce its personnel in Romania by 40 individuals - 11 diplomats and 29 technical-administrative staff members (the difference is due to some positions currently being vacant). Russia can decide who specifically should leave Romania.
The Russian side has also been informed that it has no more than 30 days to comply with the decision to expel the diplomats.
The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that this decision "reflects the current level of bilateral relations, which have sharply deteriorated following the start of Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine."
In response, Russia has, as usual, issued threats to Romania for this move.
It is worth mentioning that the new Prime Minister of Romania stated that the country aspires to join the Schengen Area and hopes to become a "key strategic hub" through "significant investments" in the expansion and modernization of the defense industry, making the country a viable player in NATO and the EU in the region.
Previously, Romania was a communist state until the revolution toppled its dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, in 1989, but it was never part of the Soviet Union, which collapsed the same year.
In the territory of present-day Moldova, which borders Romania, the "Transnistrian separatism" began to develop with Russia's support. While Moldova sought independence and closer ties with Romania, Transnistria, densely populated by Russians, defended its links with Moscow. On September 2, 1990, the self-proclaimed "Transnistrian Moldovan Republic" declared its "secession from Moldova." In 1992, armed conflict erupted there with the support and initiative of the Russian Federation.
Since then, Transnistria has become a convenient instrument of influence in the hands of the Kremlin. The "gray zone" is officially considered part of Moldova, although Tiraspol stubbornly declares its external independence from Chisinau and aligns itself with Russia.