Russia reportedly expelling Ukrainian diplomats as tensions ease by Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A service member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces aims a gun at combat positions on the dividing line near the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia on Saturday accused a Ukrainian diplomat of attempting to obtain classified information and ordered him to leave the country by April 22.

Russian FSB security service previously said Oleksandr Sosoniuk was detained while trying to access information from Russian law enforcement databases during a meeting with a Russian citizen.

“This activity is incompatible with diplomatic employee status and is hostile to the Russian Federation. The foreign diplomat is treated in accordance with international law,” the FSB said in a statement.

Describing the arrest as a provocation, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Sosoniuk had been detained for several hours before returning to the country’s consulate in St. Petersburg.

Tensions between Moscow and Kiev have increased as Russian troops clustered along the border and clashes between the army and Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged peace negotiations on Friday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Sosoniuk had been advised to leave Russian territory within 72 hours of April 19.

“The Ukrainian side will soon decide how to respond to this provocation, taking into account current practice,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said of Sosoniuk’s detention.

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