Russian diplomats spurned in Europe’s capitals – EURACTIV.com

Russian diplomat Sergey Andreev was feeling unwelcome on the streets of Warsaw even earlier than protesters doused him with purple liquid thrown in his face at brief vary this week.

Quickly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, Andreev, who’s Moscow’s ambassador in Poland, discovered the embassy financial institution accounts had been frozen. Makes an attempt to fulfill with Polish officers for any degree of diplomatic dialogue have been unattainable, he stated.

His common barber refused to chop his hair. Insurance coverage corporations denied protection for embassy automobiles, Andreev stated.

“We are practically isolated,” he informed Reuters, earlier than the paint incident on Monday.

Throughout Europe’s capitals, Russian diplomats are getting the chilly shoulder, starting from diplomatic expulsions by governments, to protests by particular person residents, and repair denials by corporations.

European Union governments have expelled at the very least 400 Russian diplomats and assist employees. Warsaw has seized a constructing linked to the Russian embassy, and Oslo renamed a avenue in entrance of the Russian mission “Ukraine Square.”

Russia’s 10-week bombardment of Ukraine has killed 1000’s, pushed over 1 / 4 of the inhabitants from their houses and flattened cities. Europeans extensively see it as unprovoked aggression by President Vladimir Putin, who says what he calls a particular navy operation was launched to defend Russia.

Western nations have responded by arming Ukraine’s navy and imposing sweeping sanctions on Russia’s elites and monetary system.

The diplomats’ tribulations usually are not corresponding to the destruction of the struggle or the broader Western response, however they’re a conspicuous instance of the depth of feeling in opposition to the invasion, and have hit dwelling in Moscow.

Public protests have prompted Russia’s international ministry to warn diplomats to suppose twice once they enterprise out, after embassies have been defaced by purple paint in Rome, Sofia and Prague. In London, protesters piled cookware and home equipment in entrance of Russia’s mission in April, in reference to stories of Russian looting in Ukraine.

“There are attacks, practically terrorist acts against our institutions and against the physical security of diplomats,” Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov informed Rossiya 24 tv.

“Now we do not recommend they go out” alone, stated Lavrov, calling the anti-Russian ambiance stoked by the West discriminatory.

In Poland, Andreev was at Warsaw’s Soviet Army Cemetery on Monday to put flowers to mark the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany when he was surrounded by protesters – some holding Ukrainian flags and chanting “fascists” on the Russian delegation – earlier than a girl hurled a lumpy purple liquid into his face.

The Russian international ministry stated it had lodged a robust protest with Polish authorities, which it accused of “practically conniving” with the protesters. Talking to Reuters in April, Andreev stated Poland had breached the Vienna Conference that specifies guidelines for internet hosting diplomats. The embassy didn’t present extra remark after Monday’s paint protest.

The Polish international ministry described the incident as regrettable, saying in an announcement that “diplomats enjoy special protection, regardless of the policies pursued by the governments that they represent.”

Swiss police informed Reuters final month there have been “expressions of displeasure, threats and damage to property towards the Russian embassy”, and police made unspecified safety changes. In Bucharest, a driver died ramming his automobile into the gate of the Russian embassy on 6 April.

As in Warsaw, the Russian embassy in Paris has been working low on money, with Moscow instructing diplomats there to chop spending to a minimal, in keeping with a diplomatic supply from a rustic that has not imposed sanctions on Russia and continues to interact with the embassy. The embassy declined to remark.

In Lithuania, two most important banks have or will reduce cash transfers to and from Russia and Belarus, and, like in Poland, insurance coverage corporations have refused to insure embassy automobiles.

“They are not insuring damages for the Russian embassy,” stated Andrius Romanovskis, chair of Lithuanian Insurers Affiliation. “My understanding is these decisions are not of commercial nature, but have to do with reputational and moral choices.”

The Russian embassy in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius confirmed its troubles.

“The embassy has recently been facing a number of problems in the banking and insurance sector, as well as with the fulfilment by certain companies of their obligations under existing contracts,” stated press secretary Alexander Kudryavtsev.

Czech capital Prague modified the embassy’s avenue title to “Ukrainian Heroes’ Street” whereas the district the place the Russian embassy relies has requested {that a} Russian faculty constructing, unused because the Czechs expelled dozens of Russian diplomats, be made obtainable for Ukrainian refugee kids.

The measures have led to some retaliation from an more and more remoted Russia, which has kicked out an unspecified variety of European diplomats.

The Polish International Ministry stated streets have been dug up round its embassy in Moscow, and the work of the embassy and its consulates was “restricted in every way by the Russian side.”

Russia’s international ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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