THE RUSSIAN Foreign Ministry said on May 18 that it had ordered a Slovak diplomat to leave the country, the TASR news wire reported.
The expected step came on the heels of last week's expulsion of a Russian diplomat from Slovakia.
The Russian ministry said the diplomat's activities were irreconcilable with his statute and he was given 72 hours to leave. The expression is usually a euphemism for espionage, but the tit-for-tat step was expected following last week's expulsion of an employee of the Russian embassy in Bratislava.
During the past four months, six Russian diplomats have been expelled from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Moscow has always taken reciprocal steps and expelled diplomats of the respective countries from Russia.
Russia protested the Slovak action, saying it contradicted the country's assurances that its recent NATO entry would not damage bilateral relations.
24. May 2004 at 0:00 | From press reports