The Ministry of Foreign Affairs main building is one of seven Stalinist skyscrapers in Moscow. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Moscow expels five Swedish diplomats, orders closure of Consulate General

Russia’s Foreign Ministry says Stockholm has pursued a “confrontational course” and orders the closure of Sweden’s Consulate General in St. Petersburg. The Ministry also shows the door to five Swedish diplomats in Russia.
May 25, 2023


The announcement comes as a tit-for-tat after Sweden a month ago expelled five persons employed at Russia’s embassy in Stockholm. The Swedish foreign minister, Tobias Billström, said they had to leave “because their activities are incompatible with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.”

In a retaliation move, Sweden’s Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry building on Smolenskiy Prospekt Thursday morning.

The Ambassador was informed about the decision to declare five diplomates “persona non grata”, including three from the Embassy’s Defense Attaché Office.

The Russian Foreign Ministry puts all the blame on Sweden. “These actions by the Swedish authorities further aggravated the situation in bilateral relations, which reached an unprecedented low level as a result of the ongoing Russophobic campaign in Sweden,” the statement reads.

Moscow, however, escalates the diplomatic turmoil. Additional to the expelled diplomats, Sweden was told to shut down its Consulate General in St. Petersburg by September 1.

As Russia withdraws from the agreement on Consulate Generals, it will terminate its own Consulate General in Gothenburg by the same date.

“We deeply regret the message from Russia about closing the Consulate General in St. Petersburg,” says Foreign Minister Tobias Billström in a comment. The consulate has a staff of three Swedes. 

“The Consulate was an engine in bilateral people-to-people cooperation between Russia and Sweden in the broadest sense. Today’s decision is therefore a further confirmation of the negative political development in Russia and the country’s international isolation,” Billström notes.


Tobias Billström is Swedish Foreign Minister. Photo: Thomas Nilsen



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