France has decided to expel six Russian spies who it says operated under cover of their embassy in Paris and “whose activities have proven to be contrary to (its) national interests”, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
“Following a very long investigation, the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) revealed on Sunday April 10 a clandestine operation carried out by the Russian intelligence services on our territory. Six Russian agents operating under diplomatic cover (…) have been declared persona non grata,” the ministry said in a statement. “In the absence of the Russian ambassador, the number two was summoned to the Quai d’Orsay this evening to be informed of this decision. »
Remarkable counterintelligence operation
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin hailed the work of French counterintelligence. “Remarkable counterintelligence operation. Bravo to the DGSI agents who hindered a network of Russian clandestine agents,” he wrote on Twitter. “In the shadows, the DGSI watches over our fundamental interests”.
Paris had already announced last Monday the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, already repeating the formula according to which their activities were “contrary” to French interests and specifying that the sanction was part of “a European approach”. The Quai d’Orsay told AFP that these six spies were added to this previous list.
Russian diplomats expelled in several countries
Many other European countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, Greece or Croatia have massively expelled Russian diplomats since the start of the invasion of Ukraine . The United States, for its part, sent home 12 members of the Russian diplomatic mission to the UN in early March.
In some cases, these expulsions were officially supposed to respond to the outbreak of war in Ukraine by Russian forces and the abuses for which they are accused by Westerners. In several other cases, they were accompanied by accusations of espionage.