Italy and Denmark have announced the mass expulsions of Russian diplomats in the wake of reports of alleged atrocities committed in Ukraine by Russian troops in the town of Bucha.

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on April 5 that the Russian ambassador to Copenhagen had been informed that 15 embassy staff members were being expelled and that the Danish government “strongly condemned” the actions of Russian soldiers in Bucha.

Soon afterward, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on RAI-news-24 TV that Rome had informed Moscow that 30 Russian diplomats had been told to leave the country “for national security reasons.”

“With this decision, we are sending a clear signal to Moscow that we will not accept that Russian intelligence officers are spying on Danish soil,” Denmark’s Kofod said in a statement.

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod (file photo)
Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod

“They pose a risk to our national security that we cannot ignore. Together with a number of our closest allies, we therefore set foot in the face of the espionage that the identified persons carry out under the guise of their diplomatic status,” he added.

The Danish statement said the diplomats had 14 days to leave the country. Di Maio did not say how long the Russian diplomats in Italy had before they must depart.

Reacting to the moves, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the state news agency TASS that “appropriate measures” will be taken by Moscow.