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Netherlands orders Russian embassy to downsize, closes St Petersburg consulate

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The Dutch government on Saturday said it would close its consulate in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and that it would limit the number of Russian diplomats allowed at the Russian embassy in The Hague.

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

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“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 government said it had decided to limit the number of diplomats at the Russian embassy in The Hague to match the number of those at the Dutch embassy in Moscow.

“A number of diplomats shall therefore have to leave the country within two weeks,” The Foreign Affairs ministry said in a statement, without giving a specific number.

The Dutch government also ordered the Russian trade office in Amsterdam to close by Tuesday.

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