The Russian Consul General in Antwerp is among those declared persona non grata by Belgium

Russia’s Consul General in Antwerp Georgi Kuznetsov is among 21 recently announced 21 Russian diplomats for persona non grata by the Belgian authorities, local media reported.

It is specified that he will leave the country by the end of the week. Intelligence sources were quoted as saying that he had been constantly looking for information in his meetings that could serve the Kremlin regime.

It is noted that in January, one of the leaders of the far-right Belgian party Vlaams Belang, Philip Deventer, distributed a photo of Kuznetsov in the Flemish regional parliament, under which he wrote that “Russia is not an enemy but an ally” and that “disinformation against Putin and Russia is not helping.” The message is about neutrality, Deventer added in a post on Twitter on January 26.

It is stated that the Flemish politician invited Kuznetsov to a public event scheduled for March 10, but participation was canceled due to the start of the war in Ukraine. It is added that the consul often communicated with other Flemish politicians.

European Commission Vice-President Vera Yurova told the European Parliament this week, citing data from an international report from 2020, that Russia supports far-right groups professing an understanding of white supremacy, leading to divisions in European societies. She added that there is evidence that Russia is training far-right and terrorist groups in the EU.

Belgium has explained its decision to expel Russian officials with threats to national security. In recent days, local media have broadcast an interview with a former KGB officer who claims that between 50 and 100 Russian spies working in the country.

Earlier this week, the EU decided to expel 19 diplomats from Russia’s Permanent Mission in Brussels. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said the move was in response to killings in Ukraine for which the Kremlin and Russian troops are responsible. Illegal and destructive actions against the security and interests of the EU and the Community, including violations of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, cannot go unanswered, Borel said.

Russia has been expelled from the Human Rights Council

The United Nations General Assembly has just voted to remove Russia from the Human Rights Council. This happened during a session in New York, the BBC and Reuters reported.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution terminating Russia’s membership of the Human Rights Council with 93 votes in favor, 24 against, and 58 abstentions. Russia has been expelled for war crimes committed in Ukraine. Kyiv has described the killing of Russian civilians as genocide.

The exclusion of countries from the Human Rights Council is rare. Libya was excluded in 2011 for violence against protesters by Gaddafi’s forces. The UN General Assembly said in a resolution that it was deeply concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine over the full-scale war that Russia launched on 24 February. Thousands are victims of Russian aggression, including women and children. Russian soldiers have ruthlessly taken the lives of innocent unarmed civilians in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba today accused his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, of being “complicit in crimes committed by the Russian military since the start of the war in Ukraine.” “The fact that Lavrov justifies the bombings of a hospital in Mariupol and the war crimes committed in Bucha and other towns and villages in Ukraine makes him complicit in these crimes,” Kuleba told a news conference after meeting with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. Ukraine must receive weapons “now” or “it will be too late”, Kuleba told NATO foreign ministers.

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