Ukraine declares Russian embassy counselor persona non grata.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has sent a note to the Russian Embassy in Ukraine declaring an embassy counselor persona non grata, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko has told Ukrinform.

"Today, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry sent a note declaring a counselor of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Kyiv persona non grata in connection with activities incompatible with his diplomatic status. He must leave the territory of our state within 72 hours," he said.

Nikolenko added that the issue of returning a Ukrainian consul from St. Petersburg to Ukraine was also being resolved.

Russia's FSB Federal Security Service reported on Saturday, April 17, that a consul of Ukraine's Consulate General, Oleksandr Sosoniuk, was detained in St. Petersburg on April 16 for allegedly receiving confidential information from law enforcement and FSB databases.

Subsequently, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Ukraine's Chargé d'Affaires in the Russian Federation Vasyl Pokotyl and said Sosoniuk's presence in Russia was undesirable.

Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin called the detention of Ukrainian consul Sosoniuk in St. Petersburg a gross provocation.

Nikolenko said on April 17 that in response to the provocation, a senior diplomat from the Russian Embassy in Kyiv must leave Ukraine within 72 hours, starting on April 19.

Yenin told the Ukraine 24 television on April 18 that the issue concerns a counselor of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv and that his surname is Chernikov.

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