BERLIN (AP) – The German government asks Russia to close four of its five consulates in Germany after Russia imposed a cap on the number of staff at the German embassy and related facilities there.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Berger told reporters in Berlin that the measures were aimed at creating “parity of personnel and structures” between the two countries.
The Russian government recently announced a limit of 350 German government employees, including those working at cultural institutions and schools, can stay in Russia. Bulger said this means Germany will have to close its consulates general in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Kaliningrad by November. According to him, only the embassy in Moscow and the consulate general in St. Petersburg will remain open. He said Russia would be allowed to continue operating its embassy in Berlin and another consulate general after the end of the year.
The move reflects a new low in relations between Moscow and Berlin since Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February 2022.
Berger said the move was regrettable, but added that the war “only removed the basis” for many bilateral activities between the two countries.
“But it was the actions of the Russian side that got us into this situation,” he said.
Berger said Germany’s decision to concentrate its remaining personnel in its embassies and main consulates “preserves its diplomatic presence in Russia.”