Cate McCurry, PA
Updated at 9.15pm
Two diplomats have been asked to leave the Irish Embassy in Moscow, it has been confirmed.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said there was “no justification” for the move.
“The ambassador of Ireland to the Russian Federation was summoned to the foreign ministry in Moscow this afternoon and informed that two diplomats from our Embassy in Moscow have been asked to leave,” Mr Coveney said in a statement.
“There is no justification for the taking of this measure.
“The staff at the Embassy of Ireland in Moscow do not have, nor are engaged in, any duties or functions which are incompatible with their diplomatic status.
“This decision to reduce the size of our relatively small Embassy in Moscow will significantly reduce our ability to provide services to our citizens in Russia and to maintain diplomatic channels of communication with the Russian Federation.”
The move comes two weeks after four senior Russian officials were asked to leave Ireland because their activities had not been “in accordance with international standards of diplomatic behaviour”, according to the Government.
The decision came following security advice.
The Russian ambassador was summoned to a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs and the four officials were given days to leave.
Days after the Russia officials left the country, Mr Coveney said the Government would keep further expulsions under consideration.
The embassy in south Dublin has become the focal point for Irish anger over the war raged by Vladimir Putin.
Since the invasion began, protests have been staged across the city and the country as both Irish people and Ukrainians living in Ireland gathered to express outcry at the war.
The IGovernment has also face repeated calls to expel the Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov, however they so far resisted calls to do so.
It emerged earlier this week that the Russian embassy was facing a fuel shortage.
Diplomats complained that Irish oil companies have refused to deliver supplies to their Dublin property due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Last month a man was charged with criminal damage and dangerous driving after his lorry rammed the embassy gates on Orwell Road in the south of the city.