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North Macedonia Declares Russian Diplomat Persona Non Grata

North Macedonia's Foreign Ministry (file photo)
North Macedonia's Foreign Ministry (file photo)

SKOPJE -- North Macedonia has declared a Russian diplomat persona non grata and communicated the decision to Moscow earlier this week.

"[North Macedonia's] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, decided to declare a diplomat at the Embassy of the Russian Federation an undesirable person in the Republic of North Macedonia," the ministry said in a statement on May 18.

"The Ambassador of the Russian Federation [to Macedonia Sergei Bazdnikin] was summoned to the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 14, whereupon a note was handed instructing the diplomat to leave the territory of Northern Macedonia within seven days."

The statement gave no further details about the case.

Based on Article 9 of the Vienna Convention, the host nation at any time and for any reason can declare a particular member of the diplomatic staff persona non grata.

The Russian Embassy in Skopje said Moscow was considering "reciprocal measures."

Several other former Soviet bloc countries in Central and Eastern Europe, all of them members of the European Union and NATO, have expelled Russian diplomats last month, triggering reciprocal measures by Moscow.

The series of expulsions began last month when the Czech Republic expelled scores of Russian diplomats over the accusations that Russian spies were involved in a deadly ammunition depot explosion in 2014, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Moscow.

North Macedonia officially became a NATO member in March 2020.

The Balkan country previously expelled Russian diplomats in 2018 in solidarity with Britain, following a nerve-agent poisoning in England that targeted former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

With reporting by TASS