KIEV, April 17. /TASS/. Ukraine will expel a senior diplomat of the Russian embassy in Kiev, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
"A senior diplomat of the Russian Embassy in Kiev must leave Ukraine within 72 hours, starting April 19. We strongly protest against the unlawful detention of an employee of Ukraine’s Consulate General in St. Petersburg on April 16 and against ordering him to leave Russia," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"We totally exclude the charges pressed against the consular officer. Those actions of the Russian authorities grossly violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 and again prove the policy of further aggravation with Ukraine chosen by Russia," it added.
Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry informed Ukraine’s Charge d'Affaires Vassily Pokotilo about the expulsion of Consul of Ukraine’s Consulate General to St. Petersburg Alexander Sosonyuk, who was detained on Friday by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for obtaining classified data from the databases of Russian law enforcement agencies and the FSB.
Moscow pointed out that "those activities were inadmissible since they were incompatible with the status of a consular officer and were damaging to security interests of the Russian Federation." Sosonyuk was "declared undesirable in Russia and was recommended to leave the country within 72 hours, starting from April 19."
Under international law, diplomats enjoy diplomatic immunity in the countries where they work but can be deprived of the right of staying in the receiving state, if they breach law or commit hostile actions.
As follows from the Vienna Convention, the receiving state may at any time notify the sending state that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata and the diplomat's stay in the country is not acceptable.