01:16 GMT +313 December 2018
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    Slovakia Expels Russian Diplomat Allegedly Engaged in Espionage - Reports

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    This is not the first time European states have accused Russia of espionage. Earlier, the Austrian government announced on 9 November that they had launched an investigation into a 70-year-old retired colonel, suspected of working for Russian intelligence since the 1990s. Moscow has denied the allegations, calling them baseless.

    Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini announced on 5 December that the country expelled a Russian diplomat over information received from the country's military intelligence service that the envoy was engaged in espionage, the Slovak media outlet Dennik reported.

    "We expelled him on 22 November and he left Slovakia within 48 hours", Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said.

    The prime minister added that the diplomat, who was working in the military attache department of the Russian Embassy, had spied against the "interests of the Slovak Republic and NATO". Pellegrini said that the expulsion went smoothly and in accordance with diplomatic norms.

    The Slovak Embassy in Moscow refused to comment on reports about the Russian diplomat's expulsion from the country and advised to address the Foreign Ministry with regard to the issue. The ministry's spokesman also declined to comment on the incident.

    READ MORE: Austria Calls for Thorough Probe Into Ex-Colonel Suspected Spying for Russia

    The Russian Embassy in Slovakia announced that it is studying information about the expulsion of its diplomat. Russian intelligence has declined to comment on the matter.

    Earlier, Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz announced on 9 November 2018 that the country suspects a 70-year-old retired colonel of spying for Moscow since the 1990s, but failed to present any evidence proving that. At the same time, Austria decided not to expel any Russian diplomats over the case.

    Russia denied Vienna's accusations and slammed its approach to resolving the issue, scolding it for resorting to "megaphone diplomacy". Moscow urged Vienna to use conventional diplomatic channels in such cases.

    Slovakia is the only country from the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary), who refused to expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with other European states over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Skripals' poisoning. Instead, Bratislava only summoned the Russian ambassador for a meeting.

    Related:

    Austrian Ex-Officer Suspected of Spying for Russia Arrested
    Austrian Prosecutors Challenge Pre-Trial Release of Russia Spy Suspect
    Austrian Ex-Colonel Accused of Espionage 'Doesn't Feel Like a Spy' – Lawyer
    UK Gave Austria Info on Ex-Colonel Suspected of Spying for Russia – Reports
    Austrian Court Orders Not to Put Col. Suspected of Spying for Russia in Custody
    Tags:
    expelling, spying, spy, espionage, diplomat, Russia, Slovakia
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