• Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:09 am

Romania to expel Russian diplomat accused of 'spying'

  • Published at 08:51 pm April 27th, 2021
Russian Embassy in Bucharest
File Photo: The exterior of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest is pictured on March 27, 2018 AFP

‘The move should not necessarily be interpreted as a solidarity reaction to what is happening in other countries’

Romania said on Monday that it will expel a Russian diplomat, the latest European country to do so after a row erupted between the Czech Republic and Moscow earlier this month.

The deputy military attache at the Russian embassy in Bucharest, Alexei Grichayev, is being declared "persona non grata... in view of his activities and actions contrary to the Convention of Vienna on diplomatic relations," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu summoned Russian ambassador Valery Kuzmin to his offices on Monday, according to the statement.

Romanian media reports said Grichayev was being expelled for "spying." 

Prime Minister Florin Citu said the move should not necessarily be interpreted as "a solidarity reaction to what is happening in other countries."

"We would have taken this decision anyway. It has nothing to do with what is going on in other EU countries," Citu said in an interview on national television.

The Czech government has accused the Russian secret services of being behind an explosion that killed two people at an arms depot in the eastern Czech Republic in 2014.

Czech police are seeking two men in connection with the blast, along with a second non-fatal explosion in the Czech Republic in 2014.

The men have also been identified as suspects in the 2018 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018.

After Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats over the allegations, Moscow retaliated by kicking out 20 Czech embassy staff, sending bilateral relations to their lowest point in decades.

Last week Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek asked EU and Nato allies to expel Russian diplomats in solidarity, leading neighbouring Slovakia as well as the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to announce they would expel a total of seven Russian diplomats.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday dismissed allegations of Russian involvement in the explosion as "absurd", while his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the EU should respond to the "confused" and "emotional" comments coming from officials in the bloc.

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