16:04 GMT19 January 2021
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    Belarus has declared two foreign citizens persona non grata, accusing them of espionage. This was announced on Friday by the chairman of the State Security Committee Valery Vakulchik.

    "This week we declared two people persona non grata," said the head of Belarus' security service.

    READ MORE: Belarus' President Shares His Advice for Trump on How to 'Have Much More to Win'

    The head of the security service did not specify from which country the individuals come from, noting that issues relating to espionage are connected "with foreign policy and relations between states."

    He also said that Ukrainian citizen Pavel Sharoyko, earlier convicted in the republic for spying, could be pardoned.

    "The question of pardoning Sharoyko is being considered," the chairman said, adding that a pardon commission would decide the fate of the Ukrainian citizen.

    The arrest of Sharoyko by Belarussian authorities came to light on November 20, 2017. According to the committee, intelligence was coordinated by Igor Skvortsov, an officer in the intelligence department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, who acted as an advisor to the Ukrainian Embassy in Minsk. Skvortsov was expelled from Belarus for activities incompatible with diplomatic status. Ukraine, guided by the principle of reciprocity, expelled a Belarusian diplomat from the country.

    On February 19, 2018, the Supreme Court of Belarus sentenced Sharoyko to 8 years in prison for espionage.


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