06:37 GMT15 May 2021
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    The ministry also said that the Ukrainian consul who will be expelled from Russia was involved in preparations to oppress Ukrainian holders of double citizenship.

    Moscow has expressed protest to Kiev in light of Russian diplomat expulsion.

    Russia reserves the right to expel a Ukrainian diplomat as a response to Kiev's recent move to declare a staffer of the Russian embassy persona non grata, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

    "The Russian Foreign Ministry expresses its resolute protest to this new unfriendly move of the Ukrainian side. The accusations against the Russian diplomat are groundless. He did not do anything outside his diplomatic mandate," the ministry said in a statement.

    Moscow slammed as "absolutely unacceptable" Kiev's claim that the move was a symmetric response to the "oral message about the undesirability of the staying on the Russian Federation's territory of the consul of the Ukrainian consulate general in St. Petersburg."

    According to the Russian foreign ministry, the Ukrainian consul was recommended to leave Russia after it was revealed that he was trying to obtain classified databases of the Russian law enforcement agencies, in order to assist Kiev's preparations for "political repression" against Ukrainian holders of Russian citizenship.

    "Taking into consideration all the circumstances, the Russian Foreign Ministry cannot qualify the Russian diplomat's expulsion from Ukraine as a symmetric measure, and reserves the right for reciprocal moves against a diplomat of the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow," the ministry concluded.

    Oleksandr Sosoniuk, the Ukrainian consul, was detained on Saturday morning during a meeting with a Russian national who allegedly wanted to pass classified information to Ukraine.

    Kiev said it assessed the detention as a hostile action on the part of Russia and was preparing response measures toward Russian diplomats.

    Tags:
    sanctions, Consul, diplomacy, expelling, diplomat, Ukraine, Russia
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