07:33 GMT +321 September 2019
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    Swedish Embassy in Moscow

    Moscow Expels 2 Swedish Diplomats as Russian Embassy Staff Denied Visa - Reports

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    In March last year, Sweden became one of the European countries that announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats after the poisoning of the ex-Colonel of the GRU Sergey Skripal and his daughter in Britain. Stockholm, in particular, announced the expulsion of one diplomat.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry decided to expel two Swedish diplomats from the country in response to Sweden denying diplomatic visas to several Russian Embassy employees, the Expressen newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier during a briefing that Moscow's move represented a retaliatory measure.        

    Commenting on the expulsion, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman highlighted that the action was a "response" to the move by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.    

    "Two Swedish diplomats were expelled from the country. Sweden earlier reported that the visa of one of the Russian diplomats could not be extended, we later denied [other] requests from the Russian Embassy", Nilsson said. "We regret the decision by the Russian Foreign Ministry".    

    The dispute between Russia and Sweden has been going on for several months. According to Expressen, one of the reasons for the tensions was a scandal around an embassy employee in Stockholm, Evgeny Umerenko. In February, the Swedish security services said that the latter had met with a 45-year-old Swedish citizen in a restaurant, who was then allegedly recruited by Russia. Swedish counterintelligence officers assumed that Umerenko was a member of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.  

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    diplomatic row, Sweden, Russia
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