On Saturday, Russia’s FSB security service announced the detention of a Ukrainian diplomat, accusing him of receiving sensitive information from a Russian national. “A Ukrainian diplomat, Alexander Sosonyuk, a consul of Ukraine’s Consulate General in Saint Petersburg, has been detained by Russia’s FSB,” the security service said in a statement.
Sosonyuk was caught “red-handed” during a meeting with a Russian national as he sought “classified” information, according to Russia’s domestic intelligence agency.
“Such activity is incompatible with his diplomatic status and is clearly hostile to the Russian Federation,” the FSB said, adding that Sosonyuk was apprehended on Friday.
In recent years Russia has detained a number of Ukrainian nationals on suspicion of spying but the detention of a diplomat is rare.
In recent weeks, tensions have escalated between Russia and Ukraine, with Kiev accusing Moscow of massing troops on its border and seeking to destroy “Ukrainian statehood.”
Kiev has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s east since 2014, and clashes have escalated since the beginning of the year, shattering a July ceasefire.
Concerns have grown that the long-simmering conflict could erupt again, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked the West for assistance.