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    In this grab taken from a footage provided by Russian Federal Security Service Press Service, explosive devices and ammunition confiscated from a group that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) identified as Ukrainian 'saboteurs,' are placed on the floor by experts in Crimea on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016

    Russia May Break Off Diplomatic Relations With Ukraine Over Crimea Attacks Plot

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    Moscow could close the Russian diplomatic mission and recall the staff of its embassy in Ukraine in response to a supposed attempted sabotage plot that Ukrainian intelligence was allegedly behind, according to media reports.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia is considering cutting its ties with Ukraine in response to a supposed attempted sabotage plot that Ukrainian intelligence was allegedly behind, Russian Izvestia newspaper reported Friday, citing a foreign services source.

    On Wednesday, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said that it had dismantled a spy ring organized by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry in Crimea, which was preparing acts of sabotage on "critical and life-supporting elements of the peninsula's infrastructure." An FSB officer and a Russian Defense Ministry's serviceman died during a shootout that ensued during the raid.

    According to the news outlet, one of the possible measures open to Moscow to retaliate for Kiev's actions could be to close the Russian diplomatic mission and recall the staff of its embassy in Ukraine.

    "One of the options for a possible, strict response may be to break off diplomatic ties. Moscow is working on such an option. However, the head of the country will have the last word, he will take a decision based on the gathered data," the source told the newspaper.

    Earlier in July, Russia requested the diplomatic courtesy, known as Agrement, from Ukraine for its appointment of Mikhail Babich as ambassador to the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Mikhail Zurabov from the post on July 28. On August 3, Ukrainian Foreign Deputy Minister Olena Zerkal said the issue of a new Russian ambassador in the country "has been removed from the agenda."

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia is still insisting on appointing a new ambassador but if Ukraine preferred to lower the level of their respective diplomatic missions, then that was the likely outcome of the matter.


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