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Spain to expel around 25 Russian diplomats

Spain will expel around 25 Russian diplomats and embassy staff over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Spain’s foreign minister said Tuesday following similar moves by other European nations.

“The unbearable images we have seen of the massacre of civilians in the town of Bucha after the withdrawal of the Russian army deeply outrage us,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a reference to a town outside Kyiv.

“We have decided to expel Russian diplomats and staff from the Russian embassy in Spain who represent a threat to the interests and security of our country,” he added following a weekly cabinet meeting.

The minister said “we are talking about a group of around 25 people” although Russia’s ambassador is not included in the list to “leave a chance for dialogue” to solve the conflict.

“We want to keep (Russia’s) ambassador and our ambassador in Moscow because we do not lose hope that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war will end,” Albares said.

Images of corpses lying in the streets in the town of Bucha, some with their hands bound behind them, following the Russian withdrawal have drawn international condemnation of Russia, and the EU is considering additional sanctions. 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russian troops of being behind the killings but the Kremlin has denied any responsibility and suggested images of corpses were “fakes”.

Italy, Sweden and Denmark had already announced similar expulsions earlier on Tuesday. On Monday, France expelled 35 Russian diplomats, and Germany announced it had expelled a “significant number” of Russian envoys.