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Kyiv Expels Russian Consul in Odesa In Latest Tit-For-Tat Move

By RFE/RL April 27, 2021

Ukraine has declared the Russian consul in the Black Sea port city of Odesa as 'persona non grata' after a second Ukrainian diplomat was kicked out of Russia in an ongoing diplomatic spat between the two countries.

The consul must leave the country by April 30 at the latest, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 27.

Amid already heightened tensions between Moscow and Kyiv, the latest diplomatic row was sparked by the arrest and subsequent expulsion of a Ukrainian consul earlier this month in St. Petersburg.

Russian authorities accused the diplomat of trying to acquire personal data from secret service agents.

In return, Kyiv expelled a Russian diplomat, prompting Moscow to respond by expelling a second Ukrainian on April 26.

"We completely reject the unsubstantiated allegations that the declared "persona non grata" Ukrainian diplomat allegedly engaged in activities incompatible with diplomatic status. The employee of the Embassy of Ukraine in Moscow did not carry out any actions that would go beyond his diplomatic and consular functions," the Ukrainian statement said.

"If the Russian side continues to provoke against employees of diplomatic missions of Ukraine in Russia, we reserve the right to take further action in response," it added.

Tense ties since Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014 and Russia's backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine have been recently heightened by a buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine and military drills in the annexed region.

For years, neither Russia nor Ukraine have had ambassadors in each other's capital.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AFP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-expels-russian- consul-odesa-tit-for-tat/31225773.html

Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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