Russia claims Sosoniuk was arrested for attempting to obtain classified information.
Russia’s FSB security service briefly arrested a Ukrainian diplomat in St. Petersburg, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, during the latest surge in tensions between neighboring countries.
The Interfax news agency previously reported, citing the FSB, that Oleksandr Sosoniuk had been taken into police custody while attempting to obtain classified information from Russian law enforcement databases during the ‘a meeting with a Russian citizen.
“This activity is incompatible with the status of diplomatic employee and is hostile to the Russian Federation. The foreign diplomat will be treated in accordance with international law, ”the FSB said, adding that Sosoniuk was arrested on Friday.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said Sosoniuk had been detained for several hours but was now back at the country’s consulate in St. Petersburg.
“The Ukrainian side will soon decide how to respond to this provocation, taking into account the current practice,” he added.
In recent years, Russia has arrested a number of Ukrainian nationals on suspicion of espionage, but the detention of a diplomat is rare.
Tensions between Moscow and Kiev have escalated amid an accumulation of Russian troops along the border and clashes in eastern Ukraine between the military and pro-Moscow separatists.
Kiev has been battling Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014, and clashes have escalated since the start of the year, destroying a ceasefire agreed to last July.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed for peace talks on Friday.