Ukrainian diplomats have confirmed the detention of Ukraine's consul in St. Petersburg, Oleksandr Sosoniuk, by Russia's FSB Federal Security Service for allegedly receiving classified information.
Read also Ombudsperson urges int'l community to react to Russian FSB torturing Ukrainian journalist in custody Sosoniuk spent the night in the FSB investigative department in St. Petersburg, an UNIAN source said on April 17, adding that the investigation is underway, and he cannot comment on the adequacy of the charges against the council.
At the same time, the source noted that the head of the consulate and other Ukrainian diplomats are on the spot to ensure the rights of the Ukrainian mission's representative.
According to diplomatic practice, Russia may soon declare Sosoniuk persona non grata, he added.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's reaction to Sosoniuk's detention
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed outrage at the incident.
"This is yet another provocation against the backdrop of Russia's destabilizing actions," press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Oleh Nikolenko told the BBC News Ukraine on April 17.
Nikolenko added that Russian law enforcers detained Ukraine's consulate general's employee for only a few hours.
"Now he is in the Ukrainian diplomatic office. The circumstances of his detention are being investigated," the press secretary said.
The Ukrainian side will soon decide how to respond to the "said provocation," he said, adding that the response would be "in line with current practice."
Detention of Ukraine's consul in St. Petersburg: Background
Russia's FSB officers detained the consul of the Consulate General of Ukraine in St. Petersburg, Oleksandr Sosoniuk, on April 16, 2021.
The Federal Security Service claims that Sosoniuk allegedly tried to receive information of a classified nature contained in the databases of law enforcement agencies and the FSB.
Such activity, the FSB says, is "incompatible with the status of a diplomatic official" and is "clearly hostile towards the Russian Federation."
Measures consistent with international law will be applied to the Ukrainian diplomat, the FSB added.
Translation: Olena Kotova