MOSCOW (Sputnik) – There are no more than two Russian diplomats left in some countries that have become unfriendly toward Russia amid Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
“In these countries, we are mainly talking about the countries of the European Union and those countries that we have declared unfriendly, so they have practically minimized our diplomatic presence. We have countries where there are only one or two [Russian] diplomats,” Zakharova told the Russian TVC TV channel on Saturday.
She emphasized that the work of Russian diplomats abroad is crucial, since they assist Russian citizens and organizations and help maintain economic ties.
“There are people there who build economic ties with us. And they built business on an equal basis for decades with our country. They are really suffering from what they see is happening in their countries in relation to Russia,” Zakharova said.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said at the start of this month that it took a lot of work to steer Washington toward understanding that Western sanctions are causing significant damage to Russian diplomats around the world.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov said in October that Russian diplomats were reorienting their work on regions that are priorities for Russian foreign policy and Russia was going to open new general consulates in Asia, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia saw no reason to maintain its current diplomatic presence in Western countries, with more attention needed to be paid to countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The minister pointed out that Moscow was shifting its geographical focus from the West to the countries that are “willing to cooperate with Russia on mutually beneficial and equal terms.”