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Ukraine declares Russian diplomat in Lvov persona non grata

In response, Moscow declared Ukrainian consulate staffer in St. Petersburg persona non grata

KIEV, August 13. /TASS/. Ukraine has declared a staffer of Russia’s Consulate General in Lvov persona non grata, the security service SBU said on Tuesday.

"The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry declared the diplomat persona non grata for activity incompatible with the status of a consular official. He has already left Ukraine," the SBU said.

As the Ukrainian special service claims, the diplomat allegedly recruited a military retiree to gather intelligence about political and public figures, Ukrainian military units, special and law enforcement agencies and foreign military instructors in the country’s western region.

The Russian embassy in Ukraine has declined to comment on the SBU’s statement, saying that it was not a recent event.

"It’s an old affair. We will refrain from comment," the embassy’s staffer told TASS on Tuesday.

Response measures

In response to Kiev’s expulsion of a Russian diplomat, Moscow has declared an employee of the Ukrainian Consulate General in St. Petersburg persona non grata, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS.

"In response to such a hostile and unmotivated step taken by Kiev, the Russian side was forced to declare a staffer of the Ukrainian Consulate General in St. Petersburg persona non grata on a mutual basis," the agency underscored.

"The fact that the Ukrainian Security Service waited three months to announce this information is likely related to the domestic political games in Ukraine," the ministry said.

Contemplations on the incident

Provocation with the expulsion of a Russian diplomat from the Russian Consulate General in Lvov was organized back in May, but Ukraine furnished no proof that the diplomat was engaged in illegal activities, sources from the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS on Tuesday.

"Back in May 2019, the Ukrainian secret services staged a new provocation, declaring an employee of the Russian Consulate General in Lvov 'persona non grata'. No evidence was provided as to his unlawful activity outside the framework of his professional duties connected with the work of the consular mission," the ministry stressed.