A fierce and dazzling “diplomatic expulsion war” is being staged between Russia and the United States and its allies. Last weekend, the Czech Republic became the latest to join the battle group, the country announced the expulsion of 18 Russian embassy personnel. The Russian side immediately issued a warning: The Czech Republic knew “what consequences would this move” bring. On the 17th, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the expulsion of 5 Polish diplomats in retaliation for Poland’s expulsion of 3 Russian diplomats. On the same day, Russia and Ukraine also expelled a diplomat from each other. The day before, as a retaliation for a new round of sanctions against the United States, Russia announced the expulsion of 10 American diplomats and put 8 former and current senior US officials on the “blacklist.” Originally, Russia and NATO have recently engaged in a tense game about the situation in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, and the situation is tense. This series of unexpected and rare “diplomatic expulsion wars” not only stunned public opinion, but also added more hostility and uncertainty to the already extremely tense situation of confrontation between Russia and the West.
The U.S. and Britain support the Czech Republic’s actions against Russia
“Prague knows the consequences of expelling Russian diplomats in the Czech Republic.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharov issued a severe warning to the Czech Republic last weekend, emphasizing that Moscow will not turn a blind eye to this “trick” of the Czech Republic. Agence France-Presse reported that Russia said on the 18th that it would respond to this “unprecedented” decision by the Czech Republic. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “We will take retaliatory measures to force provocative planners to understand that they will destroy the foundation of normal relations between the two countries. Full responsibility”. The statement believes that the Czech Republic’s hostile action to expel Russian diplomats is a continuation of its anti-Russian actions in recent years, from which the United States can be seen. The statement accused the Czech Republic of “to please the United States.”
The previous day, the Czech government asked 18 Russian embassy personnel to leave the country within 48 hours on the grounds that Russian intelligence personnel were suspected of participating in the 2014 Czech arsenal explosion. The Czech police also included two Russian citizens on the wanted list. Czech Prime Minister Babis said at a press conference that day that the Czech intelligence and security services have “sufficient evidence” to suspect that Russian intelligence personnel were involved in the 2014 Czech arsenal explosion.
The United States and Britain both expressed support for the Czech approach. The U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic stated that the U.S. stands with its staunch ally, Czech Republic, “we appreciate their major actions that made Russia pay for its dangerous actions.” British Foreign Secretary Raab also expressed “full support” to the Czech Republic on the 18th. The Russian side firmly denies the allegations. The first vice chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council Jabarov said that such absurd accusations are obviously “nonsense”. The Russians have nothing to do to blow up the Czech ammunition depot? Russia has never regarded the Czech Republic as an enemy.
RIA Novosti reported on the 18th that Slutsky, chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, said that the expulsion of Russian diplomats by the Czech Republic followed the United States’ anti-Russian policy. pace. Belov, deputy director of the Institute of European Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that the expulsion of Russian diplomats by the Czech Republic showed that the Czech Republic supports the US sanctions against Russia. Prior to this, Poland expelled Russian diplomats for the same purpose. Behind these incidents is the United States hopes to strengthen its anti-Russian line by coordinating actions with the “Western collective”.
The Russian side’s statement is not groundless, because it is a bit too “coincident” to say that this series of intensive “diplomatic expulsion wars” are completely isolated from each other. On the 15th, US President Biden signed an executive order to impose a new round of sanctions against Russia on the grounds that Russia “interfered in the US presidential election” and “launched cyber attacks” and announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats in the United States. On the same day, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced that it had listed three members of the Russian Embassy in Warsaw as unwelcome.
Russia condemns US supporters as “21st century vassals”
On the evening of the 16th, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov announced a number of retaliatory measures in response to US sanctions. Russia decided to expel 10 American diplomats, blacklisted 8 current and former senior US officials, and barred them from entering the country, including US Attorney General Garland, Director of National Intelligence Haynes, and Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Christopher Ray. Lavrov also suggested that the US ambassador to Russia return home. In addition, Moscow decided to initiate a procedure to abolish the agreement on the travel of U.S. diplomats in Russia, and will prohibit the U.S. diplomatic agencies from hiring Russian and third-country citizens.
According to the Russian Kommersant, the US ambassador to Russia was “suggested” to return to Washington for the first time since 1952. In fact, this is a bit like expelling the US ambassador, and certainly not expelling in the legal sense. At present, John Sullivan, the US ambassador to Russia, refuses to return home. In this regard, Russian diplomatic sources said that the Russian side will “create conditions” for him to prevent him from effectively working in Russia. At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made it clear that if the United States continues to impose anti-Russian sanctions, Russia will adopt more severe response measures.
In response to Poland’s practice, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the 17th announcing the expulsion of five Polish diplomats in retaliation. The Russian news agency said on the 17th that the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova said that the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian ambassador to support the US sanctions against Russia. Discipline, “This is not unity, but a vassal in the 21st century.” Bujevic, an expert at the Institute of Cooperation between Russia and Poland, believes that the Polish government has demonstrated its Atlantic route, which complements the anti-Russian actions being implemented by the United States.
Ukraine also broke out a “diplomatic expulsion war” with Russia. According to a report by the Russian News Agency, the Russian Federal Security Service announced on the 17th that a consul of the Ukrainian Consulate General in St. Petersburg was detained by the Russian side on the 16th because he met with Russian citizens there to receive non-public information. Subsequently, Russia announced the expulsion of the diplomat. On the same day, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced the expulsion of a Russian diplomat, saying that the decision was a response to Russia’s provocation.
Britain wants to send warships to the Black Sea
Regarding Biden’s call for face-to-face dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a third country while facing Russian sanctions, the Russian newspaper Izvestia stated on the 17th that Biden’s Russian policy itself is very contradictory. Long Gabzov said that the sanctions policy complicates the meeting between the two presidents. Of course, there is still time to wait until summer.
If the mutual sanctions are suspended, the summit is still very likely to be held.
However, for Ukraine, which is at the forefront of confrontation with Russia, the situation is much more urgent. “Kiev hopes to join NATO and get the support of Germany.” According to the German “Sunday World”, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Melnik issued an appeal to Germany in an interview with the newspaper, “because of his historical responsibility to the Ukrainian people. “Germany should help Ukraine join NATO as soon as possible and unconditionally. In response to Russia’s greatly increased military presence in the region near the Russian-Ukrainian border, a senior EU official told Deutsche News Agency that this is an “extremely worrying development.” German Defense Minister Karenbauer accused Russia of “directly and concretely” threatening European security on the 17th.
French President Macron said in an interview with CBS on the 18th that the relationship between the West and Russia requires a “two-pronged strategy”, which involves both dialogue and sanctions. “I think sanctions by themselves are not enough, but sanctions are the whole strategy. Part”. Macron stated that he believes it is necessary to “draw a clear red line” with Russia.
According to a report by the Russian Satellite News Agency on the 18th, Slutsky, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, said that in view of the recent “anti-Russian” incidents, the possibility of Russia withdrawing from the Council of Europe, especially the parliamentary assembly, can be discussed. Appropriate decisions will be made in this regard.
When the situation was delicately tense, Britain also came to arrogantly. On the 18th, ITAR-Tass quoted the British “Times” report as saying that Britain plans to send a destroyer and a frigate to the Black Sea in May to express support to Ukraine in the context of tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border. It is intriguing that before Britain announced its plan to send warships to the Black Sea, the United States reportedly cancelled its plan to deploy two warships to the Black Sea.
No matter what calculations the United States and Britain make, Russia is clearly unmoved. Reuters said on the 17th that Russia has further strengthened its military presence in the Black Sea as tensions with Ukraine are fermenting. On the same day, two Russian warships and 15 small ships entered the Black Sea through the Bosphorus.
In the recent period, the “diplomatic melee” between Russia and the Western camp has continued to escalate. In February, Russia, Sweden, Poland, and Germany successively drove each other’s diplomats. In March, Bulgaria, Romania and Italy expelled Russian diplomats successively. Since April 15, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and other countries have followed the Biden administration to announce the expulsion of Russian diplomats, which will inevitably arouse a reciprocal response from Moscow.
The deterioration of US-Russian relations is a major factor in the escalation of the diplomatic melee between Russia and the West. Since Biden took office, he has not only regarded Russia as a major security threat, he has also “stalked” Russia on issues such as “democracy, freedom, and human rights.” Different from the pragmatic foreign policy of the Trump administration, the Biden administration has revived the banner of values diplomacy, trying to repair the transatlantic partnership by emphasizing “democracy, freedom and human rights.” Central and Eastern European countries that were once affiliated with the Warsaw Pact have varying degrees of “Russian fear” and they also attach importance to the so-called value diplomacy. Reality shows that Biden’s struggle for values against Russia has received varying degrees of response from European allies. The First Vice-Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council and General Jabarov of the Russian Federal Security Service said that the United States may be behind the expulsion of Russian diplomats from many European countries.
So, what are the effects of the escalation of diplomatic wars between Russia and Western countries? First of all, of course it will affect the icebreaking and cooperation between the United States and Russia. Although Biden claimed that the Democratic government will return to “multilateralism,” this is only the multilateralism of Western countries. It still centers on the interests of the United States and maintains international norms based on Western values. In its relations with Russia, it pursues selective “multilateralism.” In the field of “democracy, freedom, and human rights,” struggle is still the main focus, and sanctions and isolation replace tolerance and dialogue. On the 13th of this month, Biden expressed his desire to meet Putin on the phone, and announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats on the 15th. It is hard to imagine whether this Russia policy that only cares about one’s own feelings can really promote Moscow’s cooperation.
Second, the diplomatic war between Russia and the West affects regional security. Entering 2021, the situation in eastern Ukraine continues to escalate, and the ceasefire in Donbass, which has been silent for more than a year, is broken. Since March, Ukraine and NATO have accused Russia of gathering troops and conducting tactical inspections in border areas close to Ukraine. NATO also frequently conducts large-scale military exercises in the Balkan Peninsula and the Black Sea. The relationship between Russia and NATO is becoming more and more tense, and the possibility of wiping off guns is increasing.
Furthermore, the relationship between Russia and the EU is losing vitality. After the end of the Cold War, Russia and the European Union established relatively close economic ties and maintained a cooperative-based political relationship. Russia provides the EU with 1/3 of natural gas and 1/4 of crude oil, and the EU provides Russia with high technology, market and investment. Russia and Europe also maintain cooperation on global issues such as Middle East peace, nuclear disarmament and climate change. Putin’s government has built the natural gas submarine pipeline “Beixi-1” together with some EU countries, and is building the “Beixi-2”.
However, since Biden came to power, the EU’s relations with Russia have begun to deteriorate, and the anti-Russian voices in Central and Eastern European countries have also increased. These have become inevitable interferences in the continued development of Russia-Europe cooperation. According to Russian media reports, Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, said in a recent interview that in view of the recent “anti-Russian” incidents, it is possible to discuss the possibility of Russia withdrawing from the Council of Europe, especially the Parliamentary Assembly. Sex.
One of the reasons for the escalation of Russia’s diplomatic discord with the Western camp countries is that the United States pursues “selective multilateralism” rather than true multilateralism. True multilateralism should mean that all countries respect each other and consult on an equal footing in international affairs, oppose one country’s insistence on doing its own way, and treat other countries differently. While imposing sanctions on other countries and expelling diplomats, while claiming to cooperate, this kind of “twisting Pakistan” operation will not bring real positive energy to the international community. Regardless of the size of countries, maintaining the necessary mutual respect and dialogue is the political basis for cooperation.
In the third decade of the 21st century, the global problems facing the world continue unabated. In this context, major powers especially need to shoulder their political responsibilities, put aside unilateralism and zero-sum game thinking, and jointly respond to global challenges with an open and cooperative attitude is the best choice.