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RUSSIA

Denmark expels 15 Russian diplomats accused of spying

Denmark said on Tuesday it is expelling 15 Russian "intelligence officers" registered as diplomats in the country following similar moves by a number of EU countries, including Germany and France.

The Russian Embassy in Copenhagen photographed on February 22nd 2022.
The Russian Embassy in Copenhagen photographed on February 22nd 2022. Denmark said on Tuesday it is expelling 15 Russian "intelligence officers" registered as diplomats. File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The Russian citizens concerned will have 14 days to leave the country, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We have established that the 15 expelled intelligence officers have conducted spying on Danish soil,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told reporters after a meeting in parliament.

Denmark wished to send a “clear signal” that spying in the Nordic country was “unacceptable,” he said.

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark was informed of the decision early Tuesday, where the government also expressed a “strong condemnation of Russia’s brutality against Ukrainian civilians in Bucha”.

“Deliberate attacks against civilians are a war crime,” it said.

At the same time, Copenhagen insisted on maintaining diplomatic relations with Moscow.

“Denmark does not wish to break diplomatic relations to Moscow. The Russian ambassador and the rest of the embassy in Copenhagen are therefore not included in the expulsion,” Kofod said. 

Horrific images of corpses lying in the streets in the town of Bucha north-west of Kyiv, some with their hands bound behind them, following the Russian withdrawal have drawn international condemnation of Russia, and the EU is considering additional sanctions. 

Moscow has denied responsibility, suggesting the images are fake or that the deaths occurred after Russian forces pulled out of the area.

But newly released satellite photographs taken by Maxar Technologies in mid-March, before the Russian withdrawal, showed what appeared to be bodies in some of the same places they were later found by Ukrainian troops and seen by journalists. 

On Monday,  France expelled 35 Russian diplomats, and Germany announced it had expelled a “significant number” of Russian envoys.

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BORNHOLM

Russian World War II monument vandalised on Danish island

A Russian monument to World War II soldiers on Danish island Bornholm has been painted on using the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Russian World War II monument vandalised on Danish island

The monument, an obelisk at the Russian cemetery in the town of Allinge on the Baltic Sea island, was partly painted over in blue and yellow paint on Sunday, local broadcaster TV2 Bornholm reports.

The paint was used to change a written tribute to fallen Russian soldiers on the monument to a message expressing support for Ukraine during the ongoing invasion by Russia, which began on February 24th this year.

The church in Allinge has reported the damage to the monument to police, according to the report.

The Russian cemetery on Bornholm is one of a small number of locations in Denmark at which Russia marks the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, customarily marks Russia’s Victory Day – May 9th – by laying a wreath at the cemetery.

Broadcaster DR reported on Monday that was unlikely to happen this year amid poor diplomatic relations between Russia and Denmark and local opposition on Bornholm to Barbin visiting the island in the context of the Russian war in Ukraine. The Russian embassy has not confirmed to DR whether the ambassador has cancelled plans to go to Bornholm.

While most of Denmark was liberated by the advance of British soldiers at the end of World War II, this was not the case on Bornholm, which is located 200 kilometres east of Copenhagen in the Baltic Sea and is closer to Poland than Denmark as the crow flies.

Soviet Soldiers arrived on Bornholm as the German occupation ended and remained until the following spring in 1946.

READ ALSO: Why do Danes place candles in their windows on May 4th?

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