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France Shuts Russia Trade Mission Due To 'Restrictive' Kremlin Policies

People walk past the French Embassy in Moscow.
People walk past the French Embassy in Moscow.

France's embassy in Moscow says it is closing its trade mission in Russia because of worsening conditions imposed upon the service by the Russian government.

"Operating conditions for Business France in Russia deteriorated considerably" in recent months, including the seizure of the office's bank account by Russian authorities, despite it being protected by the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, the embassy said in a July 16 statement.

The French Embassy also noted the expulsion of the office's director by Russian officials.

The director of Business France was one of four French diplomats expelled in March as part of Russia's response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats by Western governments over the nerve-agent poisonings of a Russian former double agent and his daughter in England.

The decision comes after lengthy negotiations on the status of the Business France Bureau in Russia, which is part of the diplomatic mission under French law.

Based on reporting by AP, TASS, and Interfax