News More EU countries expel Russian diplomats as pressure continues
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More EU countries expel Russian diplomats as pressure continues

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The Italian, Danish and Swedish governments have joined a growing list of European Union countries to kick out Russian diplomatic staff as pressure ratchets up against Moscow after brutal civilian killings in Ukraine shocked the world.

Italy has expelled 30 Russian diplomats from the embassy in Rome, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced, citing both national security grounds and Russia’s “unjustified” war.

Denmark said it was giving 15 Russian intelligence officials who were working under diplomatic cover two weeks to leave the country.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said no Russian espionage on Danish soil would be accepted.

The Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen said that the expulsions did not mean it intends to cut diplomatic ties with Moscow.

The Russian ambassador and the rest of his embassy staff are not affected by the expulsion.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said three Russian envoys would be expelled for not working in Sweden in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

She did not rule out that further expulsions could follow.

On Monday, Germany announced it was expelling 40 Russian diplomats who Berlin assumes are actually members of Russian intelligence services.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the move was also in response to the “unbelievable brutality on the part of the Russian leadership” and those who followed their propaganda.

France has said numerous Russian employees with diplomatic status were told to leave.

The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic countries have also announced expulsions in recent weeks.

The European Union and the United States have said they are preparing fresh sanctions against Moscow in response to the atrocities uncovered in the small town of Bucha, near Kiev.

Images of bound bodies, mass graves and people lying lifeless on the road have drawn international outcry.

The searing scenes were discovered after Russian forces abandoned the area.

Moscow says its troops had nothing to do with the killings, which it claims were forged to put the blame on Russia.

-DPA