Romania has become the latest European country to expel a Russian diplomat, after it declared a military attache a persona non grata.
The foreign ministry said the person in question was Moscow’s deputy military attache, Alexey Grichayev, Agerpres reported.
Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu informed the Russian ambassador of the decision in a meeting on Monday.
Romania’s foreign ministry defended its decision in a statement that said „his activities and actions contravene the provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969,” shorthand for spying.
Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu said the move wasn’t connected to expulsions in other European countries.
“We made the decision and it had nothing to do with what is happening in other EU countries,” the prime minister told TVR1.
Russian ambassador Valery Kuzmin later described Bucharest’s decision as „hostile,” and said that Moscow reserves the right to „take relevant measures in response.”
The development follows an escalating diplomatic row over the alleged role of Russian spies in a deadly blast at a Czech munitions depot in 2014.
After the Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats over the allegations last week, Moscow retaliated by kicking out 20 Czech Embassy staff in what is considered to be the worst fallout between the former Cold War allies since communism ended in the former Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are all members of NATO and the EU also said they were expelling Russian diplomats.