News agencies cited an unnamed government source in Berlin on Saturday, who confirmed a report first published in the online edition of the “Spiegel” newsmagazine.
The source said the female embassy worker had already complied with the Russian government’s order to leave the country. It described the move as “unjustified” and “retaliatory” in nature and said Berlin had communicated its displeasure to the government in Moscow.
According to the Spiegel report, the expulsion of the German embassy worker came after Berlin had ordered a diplomat working at the Russian consulate in Bonn to leave Germany after being accused of espionage. The report said the decision to expel the diplomat had come after he had been observed for several months by Germany’s internal security agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. He subsequently left the country.
The Spiegel report quoted a source in Germany’s foreign office, who said that in previous similar cases, there had been no retaliatory measures. “This is a policy of needle pricks,” the unnamed source said. “We don’t know where this is leading.”
pfd/sb (Reuters, AFP, dpa)