Croatia expels 24 Russian diplomats with orders that they must leave by today. The Croatian Foreign Ministry announced the decision
Croatia expels 24 Russian diplomats with orders that they must leave by today.
The Croatian Foreign Ministry announced the decision alongside its reiterated condemnation of Russia’s “brutal aggression and numerous crimes” against Ukraine. The expulsion follows similar decisions by multiple European countries including Germany and Poland. Moscow has criticized Zagreb’s decision as a step backwards in bilateral relations and stated that they will “respond appropriately”.
The move comes amidst an announcement made by a Russian general, who stated that Moscow aims to take full control of Southern Ukraine, giving the Kremlin an uninterrupted gateway to Transnistria, a Russian-backed separatist region in Moldova. Ukrainian President Zelensky has argued that the statement indicates Moscow’s intention to extend its military campaign beyond Ukraine. Moldova has so far declared itself neutral in the conflict, although it has recently applied for European Union membership.
Expect Moscow to expel Croatian diplomats in retaliation, as they recently have done with the Polish embassy. Russian forces are unlikely to reach Transnistria in the short term, given they would need to cover significant ground in a region where they have so far met strong resistance. However, expect the EU to implement further sanctions on Russia, likely through disconnecting additional major banks from SWIFT.