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Russia Expels Slovak Diplomat In Spy Dispute

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Russia has declared a Slovak military diplomat persona non grata following Bratislava’s expulsion of a Russian diplomat suspected of spying last month.

Calling Slovakia's move an “unfriendly act,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on December 13 that the diplomat in the Slovak Embassy in Moscow had been given two days to leave the country.

Earlier this month, the Slovak government said it had expelled a member of the military attache's office at the Russian Embassy in Bratislava in late November after information provided by Slovakia's Military Intelligence Service indicated he "conducted intelligence-gathering activities” against the interests of the country and NATO.

Slovakia is a member of the NATO and the European Union.

The dispute between Moscow and Bratislava comes amid persistent tension between the West and Russia over issues including Moscow's aggression in Ukraine, its alleged election meddling in the United States and Europe, and massive international cyberattacks.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax