Russia expels Italian diplomat in tit-for-tat move

TEHRAN, Apr. 26 (MNA) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has asked a staff member from the Italian Embassy to leave the country in 24 hours, Russian media have reported.

Moscow has declared an Italian diplomat persona non grata, responding to a similar step by Rome, the Supnik news agency reported on Monday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in an official statement that "On 26 April, Italian Ambassador Pasquale Terracciano was handed a note from the ministry declaring Assistant Defence Attaché and Naval Attaché Pacifichi 'persona non grata' in retaliation for the unfriendly and unjustified actions of the Italian authorities in relation to the military attaché at the Russian Embassy in Rome".

The spat between the two countries emerged after Italian law enforcement services detained two servicemen on grounds of espionage on 30 March. As a result, Rome expelled two Russian diplomats, claiming they were linked to spy operations in the country.

KI/PR 

News Code 172628

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