KYIV, APR 17 – Ukraine will respond to Saturday’s detention of its Consul General in St Petersburg Alexander Sosonyuk, the country’s Foreign Ministry said.
Describing the incident a “provocation” by Russia, ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said Ukraine was looking into the matter.
“Currently, he is in the Ukrainian diplomatic mission,” Nikolenko said, according to Ukrinform news agency.
“The circumstances of the detention are being clarified. In the near future, the Ukrainian side will decide on the form of response to this provocation, taking into account the existing practice,” he added.
Russia’s security agency said on Saturday it arrested the Ukrainian consul general in Saint Petersburg over spying allegations.
According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), Sosonyuk was detained “red-handed” at a meeting with a Russian citizen while trying to get classified information, including data from Russia’s law enforcement agencies and the FSB databases.
The Vienna Convention provides for immunity to diplomats in countries of their work, but they can be deprived of the right to stay in a country in case of violation of local law or hostile actions.
The convention also stipulates that the receiving state may at any time notify the sending state that the head of mission or other diplomatic official is declared persona non grata and that his presence in the country is unacceptable.
The detention comes amid heightened border tensions between Ukraine and Russia.