Germany to remove at least 100 staff from its missions in Russia - source

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Moscow

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany will remove more than 100 employees working at its missions in Russia after Moscow imposed limits on the numbers allowed to work in the country, a source with the German foreign ministry said on Saturday.

"This limit, set by Russia for the beginning of June, requires a major cut in all areas of our presence in Russia," the source said.

Those affected include teachers, as well as other employees of schools and the Goethe Institute, and is necessary to maintain the right balance for Germany's diplomatic presence, said the person, who described the number affected as at least 100.

Relations between Russia and Germany, which used to be the biggest buyer of Russian oil and gas, have broken down since Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the West responded with sanctions and weapons supplies.

The source called the limit, announced in April, "unilateral, unjustified and incomprehensible". The person declined to say what the limit imposed by Moscow was.

The number of German employees leaving was earlier reported by Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Russia's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(This story has been corrected to clarify that not all employees are directly employed by the German government, in the headline and paragraph 1)

(Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Kirsti Knolle, Conor Humphries and Jan Harvey)