Ukraine expels Russian consul in Odesa

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has declared a consul of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Odesa persona non grata in Ukraine, the ministry's press service has reported.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry strongly protested over the 26 April decision by the Russian Foreign Ministry to declare an employee of the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow persona non grata.

"We completely reject unsubstantiated allegations that a Ukrainian diplomat, who was declared persona non grata, allegedly engaged in activities incompatible with his diplomatic status. The employee of the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow did not do anything that would go beyond his diplomatic and consular functions," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

It stressed that the decision of the Russian Foreign Ministry grossly violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, and diplomatic practice.

"We view such a step as a continuation of the anti-Ukrainian campaign launched in Russia and another manifestation of unfriendly actions against employees of Ukrainian diplomatic missions. […] If the Russian side continues its provocations against employees of Ukrainian diplomatic missions in Russia, we reserve the right to take further action in response," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on 26 April announced the expulsion of an employee of the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow "in connection with the unfriendly actions of the Ukrainian side, which declared an employee of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv persona non grata on 19 April."

On 17 April, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) announced the detention of a consul of Ukraine's Consulate General, Oleksandr Sosoniuk, in St. Petersburg on April 16 allegedly for obtaining confidential information from the databases of law enforcement agencies and the FSB.

Ukraine's Chargé d'Affaires in Russia Vasyl Pokotylo, who was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, was told that Sosoniuk's stay in Russia was undesirable.

On 19 April, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry sent a note to the Russian Embassy in Ukraine declaring an embassy counselor, Yevgeny Chernikov, persona non grata.

On 21 April, the Russian diplomat left Ukraine.

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