Poland expels two Belarusian diplomats in retaliatory move

Poland has expelled two more Belarusian diplomats after Belarus expelled another two Polish consuls on Thursday.

"Given the continuation of unfriendly gestures towards Polish diplomats by Minsk, in line with the reciprocity principle, the Polish Foreign Ministry has decided to expel the Belarusian consul general in Bialystok and the consul in Warsaw," Marcin Przydacz, a Polish deputy foreign minister, wrote in a Twitter post.

On Tuesday, the Belarusian foreign ministry expelled Jerzy Timofiejuk, Poland's consul in Brest, due to his participation in a commemoration of Poland's Cursed Soldiers on February 28. The Cursed Soldiers were underground partisan units who fought the communist regime after World War II. Some of those fighters have been accused by Belarus of killing Belarusian citizens.

On Wednesday, in retaliation, Poland declared a Belarusian diplomat in Warsaw persona non grata. Then on Thursday, Belarus expelled two more Polish diplomats, the consul general and consul from Grodno.

Bix Aliu, chargé d'affaires of the US Embassy in Warsaw, expressed support for Poland on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

"The USA is in solidarity with Poland and condemns the expulsion of three Polish diplomats from the consulates in Brest and Grodno," Aliu wrote, adding that Belarus should observe its obligations on treating diplomats, in line with the Vienna Convention.

Aliu is now in charge of the US embassy in Warsaw until a new ambassador is appointed by Joe Biden's administration.