They said this during a press conference following an online meeting on joint defense issues, Welt reports.
Merkel called the expulsion of diplomats unjustified, noting that this decision once again proves that Russia is increasingly moving away from the rule of law.
“During our conversation, we learned about the expulsion of German, Swedish and Polish diplomats from Moscow in connection with demonstrations in support of Navalny. We consider this expulsion unjustified, this is another manifestation of Russia’s departure from the principles of the rule of law,” the chancellor said.
The French President also condemned Russia’s decision.
“As for the Navalny case, I condemn with the greatest decisiveness what happened: the poisoning, and the sentence and today’s expulsion of diplomats by Russia,” Macron said.
We will remind, the head of the German Foreign Ministry Gaiko Maas promised a response to Russia if it does not reconsider its decision to expel European diplomats for allegedly participating in the protests against Navalny.
On February 5, Russia decided to expel three European diplomats on Friday, February 5, when EU High Representative Josep Borrell arrived in Moscow for a visit.
The Russian Federation protested in connection with the participation of diplomatic employees of the general consulates of Sweden and Poland in St. Petersburg and the German embassy in Moscow in protests on January 23. The diplomats were declared “persona non grata” and ordered to leave the territory of the Russian Federation in the near future.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry explained that the Swedish diplomat only watched the protests and called the decision of the Russian Federation absolutely unfounded.
The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that he learned about the intentions of the Russian Federation to expel European diplomats during negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.