Slovakia has expelled three Russian diplomats, allegedly for espionage. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bratislava said it had expelled the three because of “their activities that violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”. Diplomats are obliged to leave Slovakia within 72 hours.
Dennik N daily reported that police also arrested three suspects accused of spying for Russia. Among those arrested were an employee of the Ministry of Defense and an employee of the secret service. The third suspect is linked to the hlavnespravy.sk website, which was recently blocked by the Slovak authorities for disinformation. According to the newspaper, the suspects were bribed by an employee of the Russian embassy in Bratislava.
A spokeswoman for Slovakia’s defense ministry said military intelligence “has provided law enforcement with important information, including evidence, in this case.” Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad stated on Facebook: “This is just the beginning, I think we have dismantled this network well.” The Slovakian secret service (SIS) has meanwhile denied the involvement of one of its agents.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow stated, according to Russian news agencies: “This unfounded measure will not go unanswered.” Since the attack on Ukraine, several Russian diplomats have had to leave their posts in the west because of allegations of espionage. At the end of February, the USA expelled twelve members of the Russian UN mission. In early March, Bulgaria expelled two diplomats.