Slovenia told by Russia to reduce diplomatic staff in Moscow

Ljubljana – Russia demanded on Thursday that Slovenia reduce the number of staff at its embassy in Moscow by four within ten days, a move that comes a month and a half after Slovenia demanded an 80% cut in the number of staff at the Russian Embassy in Ljubljana due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Slovenia said it was negatively surprised by the move.

Slovenia’s charge d’affairs was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday and presented with a note, demanding that Slovenia reduce the Moscow embassy staff by four people, Russian press agency Tass reported today.

“In response to unfriendly steps, taken by Ljubljana earlier, on reduction of staff of the Russian diplomatic mission … the Slovenian diplomat was presented with a note demanding to reduce the diplomatic staff of the Slovenian embassy in Moscow by four people within 10 days,” Tass quoted the ministry as saying.

“Based on the principle of reciprocity, a decision was also made to correct the conditions of operation of the Slovenian diplomatic mission, considering the situation that our embassy in Ljubljana has found itself in,” the ministry reportedly added.

The Slovenian Foreign Ministry responded to the development in a written response labelling it as “a negative surprise”.

It announced it would study the Russian decision from all aspects and consult with the EU countries that are in a similar situation before adequately reacting in due course.

In early April, the Slovenian ministry reduced the number of staff at the Russian Embassy in Ljubljana from 41 to 8. Unlike some other EU countries, it did not expel the diplomats.

Instead, it invoked article 11 of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which states that the receiving state may require that the size of a mission be kept within limits considered by it to be reasonable and normal.