Russia vows response to Slovakia’s ‘unjustified action’
Slovakia announced the decision to expel three Russian diplomats on suspicion of espionage on Monday. The move followed earlier reports of detentions within Bratislava’s own Ministry of Defense and domestic intelligence service.
According to the Slovak Foreign Ministry’s statement, quoted by Reuters, three Russian embassy staff have been ordered to leave the country within 72 hours.
The ministry, citing some unspecified intelligence information, called on the mission to urge the remaining diplomats “to perform their activities in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”
The expulsion prompted a response from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“This unjustified action will not go unanswered,” a ministry spokesperson told TASS.
According to local media, the Slovak National Criminal Agency has recently detained several people working for the Ministry of Defense, including a colonel, and the country’s domestic intelligence service, known as Slovak Information Service, on suspicion of spying for Russia and being bribed by a Russian official.
Slovakian Minister of Defense Jaroslav Nad appeared to confirm the reports by posting a screenshot of an article on the matter on his Facebook page and saying that “military intelligence provided key intelligence, including evidence, to law enforcement authorities in the case.”
Monday’s events are not the first time that Bratislava has gotten involved in a diplomatic row with Moscow. In April last year, Slovakia expelled three Russian diplomats, explaining it was due to suspicions that they were “not operating in accordance with the way diplomats are to operate.”