Russia today expelled 24 Italian and 27 Spanish diplomats in tit-for-tat responses to the expulsion of Russian diplomats over the Ukraine conflict. In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said that  27 employees of the Spanish embassy in Moscow and the Spanish Consulate General in Saint Petersburg “have been declared persona non grata”. The ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russian news agencies that 24 Italian diplomats have also been expelled.