Sweden joins European nations in expelling Russian diplomats

A general view of the Russian embassy in Stockholm, Sweden February 8, 2021. TT News Agency/Janerik Henriksson via REUTERS/File Photo

STOCKHOLM, April 5 (Reuters) - Sweden will expel three Russian diplomats for spying, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Tuesday, joining a number of European countries which have expelled Russian diplomats in recent days.

"It is because they are not following the Vienna Convention and they are undertaking illegal intelligence-gathering operations," Linde told reporters.

France, Belgium and the Netherlands have recently expelled Russian diplomats over alleged spying activity. read more

The moves coincide with outrage across the continent over reports of the discovery of mass graves and of civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha following the retreat of Russian soldiers, conducting what Moscow calls its "special operation" in Ukraine.

"It is obvious that war crimes have been committed," Linde said.

The Kremlin denies any accusations related to the murder of civilians, including in Bucha. read more

U.S. President Joe Biden has called for a war crimes trial against Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Washington will ask the U.N. General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council. read more

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, saying it aimed at demilitarizing and "denazifying" its neighbour. Ukraine and the West say the invasion was illegal and unjustified.

Reporting by Simon Johnson and Johan Ahlander; editing by Niklas Pollard and Ed Osmond

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