Paris and Moscow exchanged expulsions of diplomats. A Russian was expelled after he was accused of espionage. This was reported by the French newspaper Les Echos, and Kommersant drew attention to the publication.
According to the newspaper, the incident took place late last year. It is alleged that one of the heads of the economic department of the Russian embassy in Paris was caught while committing espionage. He was expelled; in response, a French diplomat from the economic department of the embassy in Moscow was expelled. It has not been publicly reported.
Les Echos was unable to obtain official confirmation of what happened. The French embassy and the Russian Foreign Ministry would not comment on the matter for Kommersant.
The newspaper attributes the secrecy of the exchange to diplomacy – the sides are trying to preserve the semblance of good relations. At the Munich Security Conference in February, French President Emmanuel Macron was the only speaker from Western countries and organizations who called for a dialogue with Russia. He said that he considered the policy of open confrontation with Moscow a failure.