The German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin has announced that three out of four operational consulates in the Russian Federation will close. The consulates to be closed are: Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Kaliningrad while the consulate in St. Petersburg and the embassy in Moscow will remain open. Germany also ordered the Russian Foreign Ministry to close four of its consulates in their country.
Russia will only be allowed to operate the embassy in Berlin and another of the five consulates general (in Bonn, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig and Munich) This announcement comes after the Russian Federation capped the number of German diplomats to 350. This means that 700 diplomatic personnel from Germany will have to leave the country by 1 Jun 23.
According to Berliner Zeitung:
“The new Russian decision means that several hundred German civil servants such as diplomats, teachers and employees of the Goethe Institute have to leave Russia. The upper limit comes into force at the beginning of June and, in addition to the diplomatic service, primarily affects the cultural and educational sectors. Among other things, positions at the German School in Moscow and at the Goethe Institutes in Russia have to be cut. With Germany’s decision to close four consulates, “structural and personnel parity” will be established.”
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christofer Burger told press in Berlin that the measure is intended to create a “parity of personnel and structures” between the two countries. Burger also said the move was regrettable, but that the war meant there was “simply no basis” for numerous bilateral activities between the two countries anymore. This move will undoubtedly reduce the services available to Russian citizens in Germany and German citizens in Russia.
“But it is the behavior of the Russian side that has brought us into this situation,” he said.