Russia has expelled an Italian diplomat over what it said was an "unjustified" move by Rome to expel two Russian diplomats in March.
"The Italian Ambassador to Moscow Pasquale Terracniano was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry where he was handed a note by the ministry saying that the aide to the defense attaché and naval attaché at the embassy in Moscow, C. Pacifici, is declared persona non grata in response to the unfriendly and unjustified actions of the Italian authorities against the defense attaché office of the Russian Embassy in Rome. The staffer is ordered to leave Russia within 24 hours," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 26.
Last month, Italy expelled two Russian diplomats after police said they had caught an Italian Navy captain passing secret documents to a Russian military official for money.
The Italian Foreign Ministry called Russia's move "unfounded and unjust."
"We consider the decision unfounded and unjust because it is in retaliation to a legitimate measure taken by the Italian authorities in defense of their own security," the Italian Foreign Ministry said in the response to Moscow's move.