Germany reported this Wednesday, May 31, that it will close four Russian consulates in its territory. The move comes in retaliation for the Kremlin’s mandate to reduce German diplomatic staff and cultural officials in Russia. This fact further strains the relationship between two former allies in terms of fuel supply and demand.
Berlin “is losing its way” with “its hostile policy” towards Moscow. This is how Russia reacted to the notification by Germany to close four of the five active Russian consulates in that European country.
“The Russian side categorically rejects any attempt by Berlin to shed blame for the escalation that it constantly incites. We once again call on the German authorities to stop”, affirmed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Eurasian country in a statement.
According to Moscow, its counterpart “must understand that all responsibility for the degradation of bilateral relations falls on them.” The Russian Foreign Ministry also warned that “irrational provocative actions will not go without due reaction.”
🇷🇺Erklärung des russischen Außenministeriums im Zusammenhang mit dem Beschluss der deutschen Bundesregierung, vier Generalkonsulate der Russischen Föderation in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland zu schließen
Die Forderung des Auswärtigen Amts, die russischen Generalkonsulate in… pic.twitter.com/pbfbvD4cnS
— Botschaft der Russischen Föderation (@RusBotschaft) May 31, 2023
The ministry stressed that the new measures in Berlin “are aimed at further destruction” of the ties between the two nations.
Germany, for its part, justified the determinations alleging the search for a “parity of personnel and structure” between the two territories. The deadline given for the closure of the venues is until this end of the year.
What does Germany’s decision respond to?
The German decision has its origin days ago. So, Russia notified Berlin that it had to reduce the number of diplomatic officials on its territory to about 350 people.
Thus, hundreds of German employees will lose their jobs, including staff and teachers at the Goethe Institute, which promotes the teaching of the German language and culture in other countries.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the annoyance that the Russian measure had generated: “This unjustified decision is forcing the federal government to make very significant cuts in all areas of its presence in Russia.”.
The decision is not the only one of this style. Foreign Affairs had already notified in November the closure of its consulates in Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk, leaving only the one in Saint Petersburg in operation together with the embassy located in Moscow.
“It is the behavior of the Russian side that has led us to this situation.”said Christofer Burger, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry. Germany was one of the members of the European block that warned of the consequences in case its “commercial partner” invaded the neighboring territory.
The most forceful action in Berlin was the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. A 1,200 km engineering work built in the Baltic Sea and which had been completed in September 2021, but never went into action.
With a cost of 11.350 million dollars, this route of pipelines resembled the route of a similar structure, the Nord Stream 1, which began operations in 2011. Together, both structures would dispatch 110,000 million cubic meters of gas to Europe each year. , which represented a good economic gain for Moscow.
As the months have passed and the invasion has unfolded, Europe—and especially Germany—has sought to become independent of its need for Russian fuel. Before the start of the war, more than 30% of the European country’s energy was generated from gas from Russia.
Other events marked the degradation of relations, among which are the statements by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which she assured that the Minsk Agreements had been signed to “give Ukraine time.” These had been a road map to stop the fighting between kyiv and pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass.
“They were an attempt to give Ukraine time. Ukraine used this period to become stronger, as seen today,” Merkel said.
With EFE, Reuters and AP
Source: France 24