Russia expels Swedish diplomat, says it's tit-for-tat move

AP News
Posted: Aug 04, 2015 6:17 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has expelled a Swedish diplomat in what it describes as a response to a similar Swedish move, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The move is a retaliatory measure to the "unfriendly action" against a Russian diplomat in Stockholm, the ministry said in a statement. It didn't identify either diplomat or give any further details.

The ministry added that "Stockholm bears full responsibility for the consequences of this provocation."

Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Johan Tegel confirmed that Russian authorities informed Stockholm that a member of staff at its embassy in Moscow must leave Russia.

"We understand that Russia considers this to be a response to a member of staff at the Russian Embassy in Stockholm recently being asked to leave Sweden, and that action was taken after it was discovered that this person at the Russian Embassy had engaged in activities that are inconsistent with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations," he said without elaboration.

Relations between Russia and Sweden have deteriorated amid strain over the Ukrainian crisis.

In March, the Swedish security service SAPO accused Russia of using as many as one-third of its diplomatic staff in the Scandinavian country for clandestine intelligence-gathering. SAPO said it stopped several attempts by Russia last year to obtain Swedish technology for military purposes.