TWO IRISH diplomats working at the Irish Embassy in Moscow have been asked to leave, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has confirmed.
In a statement released yesterday, Minister Simon Coveney explained that the Ambassador of Ireland to the Russian Federation Brian McElduff was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow and informed of the expulsions.
"There is no justification for the taking of this measure," he said. "The staff at the Embassy of Ireland in Moscow do not have, nor are engaged in, any duties or functions which are incompatible with their diplomatic status.
"This decision to reduce the size of our relatively small Embassy in Moscow will significantly reduce our ability to provide services to our citizens in Russia and to maintain diplomatic channels of communication with the Russian Federation."
There are now just four Irish diplomats working at the embassy in Moscow, including the ambassador.
The move comes after four Russian diplomats were expelled from the embassy in Dublin in March.
The Taoiseach has told the Dáil the move followed security advice received by the Government.
The Government said the officials' activities have not been in accordance with international standards of diplomatic behaviour.