Russia says it is expelling dozens of French and Italian diplomats, and that this is a "response" to similar actions taken by European countries in a coordinated manner over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on May 18 that it had notified the French ambassador that 34 staff members from France's "diplomatic institutions" had been declared persona non grata, and that those diplomats should leave Russia within two weeks.
The ministry issued a statement on the same day over deporting 24 Italian diplomats.
The Italian Prime Minister has called the decision a "hostile move" and said it "should in no way lead to the cessation of diplomatic channels, because if we succeed, peace will be achieved through these channels - and we really want that."
France, which ousted 35 Russian diplomats in April, has condemned a move by Moscow on May 18.
At the same time, Rome reported to Moscow that 30 Russian diplomats had been noted to leave the country, "for reasons of national security."