Netherlands to expel some Russian diplomats, accusing Moscow of spying

The Dutch government ordered "a number" of Russian diplomats out of the country, accusing Russia of trying to smuggle spies pretending to be diplomats into the country. The Dutch government will also be closing its consulate in Saint Petersburg.

"Russia keeps trying to secretly get intelligence agents into the Netherlands under cover of diplomacy. We cannot and shall not allow that," Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in a statement published on Feb. 18.

"At the same time Russia refuses to give visas to Dutch diplomats who would work at the consulate in St. Petersburg or the embassy in Moscow."

The undisclosed number of Russian diplomats will have to leave the Netherlands within two weeks. The Dutch government also ordered the closure of the Russian trade office in Amsterdam.

A number of countries, including France, Denmark, and Austria, have expelled Russian diplomats during Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine over the violations of diplomatic norms and accusations of spying for the Russian government.