Netherlands extradites 17 Russian intelligence agents

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BRUSSELS, March 29 (Reuters) - The Netherlands has expelled 17 Russian intelligence agents who were accredited as diplomats, based on information from its own security services, the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The reason for this (decision) is information from the AIVD and MIVD showing that the individuals in question, accredited as diplomats at the Russian representations in the Netherlands, are secretly active as intelligence officers," the ministry said.

Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra said the government was prepared for any retaliation by Moscow.

"Experience shows that Russia does not leave such measures unanswered. We cannot speculate on that, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is prepared for various scenarios that may occur in the near future," he said in a statement.

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Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine Editing by Catherine Evans

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