Russia Detains Ukrainian Diplomat In St. Petersburg

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says it detained a Ukrainian diplomat on April 17 in St. Petersburg on suspicion of trying to obtain classified information.

The FSB statement said diplomat Oleksandr Sosoniuk had been attempting to obtain information from Russian law enforcement databases during a meeting with an unidentified Russian citizen.

Dmitry Novikov, chairman of the State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told Interfax that Sosoniuk, who worked at Ukraine’s consulate in the city, would most likely be expelled from Russia.

Reuters reported that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries, with Moscow amassing military forces near their mutual border and in the Russia-annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Relations between Kyiv and Moscow have been strained since Russia forcibly annexed Crimea in 2014 and began providing military, economic, and political support to separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine. More than 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Nearly 30 Ukrainian soldiers have been reported killed since the start of the year, compared with 50 in all of 2020, when fighting in the conflict subsided as a new cease-fire deal came into force in July.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

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