The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Russian security service detains Ukraine diplomat


SAINT PETERSBURG: Russia’s FSB security service said on Saturday it had detained a Ukrainian diplomat, accusing him of receiving sensitive informatio­n from a Russian national.

In recent years Russia has detained a number of Ukrainian nationals on suspicion of spying but the detention of a diplomat is rare and seen as a sign of sharply rising tensions.

“A Ukrainian diplomat, a consul of Ukraine’s Consulate General in Saint Petersburg, Alexander Sosonyuk, has been detained by Russia’s FSB,” the security service said in a statement, using the Russian language spelling of his name.

He had been detained on Friday, the security service said.

Kiev confirmed the diplomat had spent several hours in detention and was now back in the Ukrainian diplomatic mission.

Russia’s domestic intelligen­ce agency said Sosonyuk had been caught “red-handed” during a meeting with a Russian national as he sought to receive “classified” informatio­n.

“Such activity is not compatible with his diplomatic status and is of clearly hostile nature towards the Russian Federation,” the FSB said.

“In conformity with internatio­nal law, measures will be taken against the foreign diplomat.”

In Kiev, Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko chalked up the incident to raging tensions between the two countries.

“This is yet another provocatio­n amid Russia’s destabilis­ing activities,” he told AFP in a statement.

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