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Monday, 24 February 2020

Expelled Russian diplomats leave Ukraine

AFP , Wednesday 28 Mar 2018
Russian Embassy Ukraine
The Russian flag flutters on the rooftop of the Russian embassy in Kiev on March 28, 2018. (Source: AFP)
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Thirteen Russian diplomats declared persona non grata by Ukraine in a show of solidarity with Britain over the nerve agent attack on an ex-spy, have left the country, the Russian embassy said Wednesday.

"Employees of the Russian embassy who have been ordered to leave Ukraine are no longer in Ukraine," embassy spokesman Denis Golenko told AFP.

On Monday, Ukranian authorities announced the expulsion of 13 diplomats who they said were "agents of Russian special services" and added they have 48 hours to leave the country.

But after the expulsion, "dozens" of Russian diplomats will still work in the Russian embassy in Kiev and in its three consulates in Odessa, Kharkiv and Lviv, Ukraine has said.

Twenty-six countries including the United States and most of the EU member states have ordered out more than 120 Russia diplomats in response to the March 4 attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the attack.

A pro-Western uprising that ousted a Kremlin-backed president in Kiev in 2014 and Moscow's subsequent annexation of Crimea shredded ties between Russia and Ukraine.

After the takeover of the peninsula, Moscow moved to support a pro-Kremlin insurgency in the east of the ex-Soviet country, in a crisis that has claimed more than 10,000 lives since April 2014.

Currently there is no Russian ambassador in Ukraine and Kiev has replaced its own ambassador to Moscow with a temporary representative.

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