Russia detains Ukraine's consulate general for 'spying' as Putin pushes countries to brink of warApril 17, 2021
RUSSIA has dramatically detained Ukraine's consulate general for "spying" as Vladimir Putin pushes the countries to the brink of war.
Ukrainian diplomat Oleksandr Sosonyuk is accused of receiving classified information from law enforcement agency databases, according to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).
The spying claims come amid high tension between the two ex-Soviet countries with fears the situation could deteriorate into war.
Diplomat Oleksandr Sosonyuk was held in what may have been a sting operation.
A statement from the FSB said he was “caught red handed” in a meeting with a Russian citizen “receiving classified information from law enforcement agencies and FSB databases”.
The FSB said: "The foreign diplomat will be handled in accordance with the norms of international law,.”
The security service said his activities were incompatible with his status as a diplomat.
He “has a clear hostile nature in relation to Russia”, the statement said.
The identity of the Russian person allegedly handing over papers was not disclosed.
"This activity is incompatible with the status of a diplomatic worker and is clearly hostile against Russian Federation", the message reads.
Sosonyuk headed the Ukrainian consulate in St Petersburg, Russia’s second city.
Russia has massed almost 100,000 troops on its borders with Ukraine in recent days, sparking fears of a full-scale invasion.
Moscow – also embroiled in a spy tit for tat explosion dispute with the US – denies inflaming the tense standoff on the frontier.
Ukraine has demanded NATO membership as a protection against its neighbour, threatening to return to building a nuclear arsenal if it is refused.
International standards state diplomats have immunity in the country in which they work – but can be deprived of the right to stay if they violate the law.
It comes as Ukraine is facing a "wipe out blitzkrieg" as a Russian expert claims Putin is mobilising half a million troops amid mounting fears of war.
Putin has moved tens of thousands of troops and heavy military equipment to the border with Ukraine, prompting a phone call from Joe Biden to tell the Russian leader to stand down.
The US president urged Putin to ease mounting tensions with neighbouring Ukraine during a phone call with the Russian leader this week.
Biden spoke of his "unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity".
And he proposed a summit meeting "in the coming months" to "discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia".
But the Kremlin said it was "premature" to talk about a possible meeting.
It comes amid claims from an expert that Putin is threatening to invade Ukraine to "humiliate" Biden after his "killer" jibe as he looks to reassert Russia's "superpower" status.
Fears are growing of an all-out war seven years after Russia ruthlessly annexed Crimea in the east of the country using militia groups.
Dr Jade McGlynn, Director of Research at the Henry Jackson Society, says Putin is trying to "test" the new US President while also fostering anti-western sentiment ahead of elections in September.
She told The Sun Online: "Yes, Putin is looking to humiliate Biden, although it's unclear whether he'll be able to. Biden is quite canny, he's very experienced."
Last month, Biden said in a TV interview that Putin was a "killer" with "no soul" prompting the Russian leader to respond with "It takes one to know one."
But according to the academic, the jibe riled the sabre-rattling strongman so much that he is now "flaunting" his weaponry on the Ukrainian border.
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