Moscow | Moscow on Wednesday declared two Colombian diplomats persona non grata, in reaction to the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Colombia announced the day before.
On Tuesday, Bogota revealed that it had expelled the two Russians in early December without giving details. But according to local media, they were involved in an alleged spy case.
The Russians “were acting in violation of the Vienna Convention” on diplomatic relations, President Ivan Duque had declared in an interview with NTN24.
On Wednesday, Russia said it had declared “persona non grata” two members of the Colombian diplomatic representation in Moscow, following a “principle of reciprocity”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the expulsion of its diplomats from Colombia “does not correspond to the spirit of traditionally friendly and respectful relations” between Moscow and Bogota.
The director of the Colombian migration service, Juan Francisco Espinosa, assured at a press conference that the two Russian diplomats had left Colombia on December 8. “Given the circumstances of their release (…) they will not be able to return to the country in the short term”, added Mr. Espinosa.
The Colombian authorities expelled in June a Venezuelan spy in the service of the government of Nicolas Maduro, which in February 2019 broke off relations with Colombia.
In recent years, Russian diplomats have been expelled from many countries on charges of espionage.
This type of business has multiplied in particular in Europe in recent months – Bulgaria, Austria, Czech Republic, Norway – against a backdrop of growing Russian-Western tensions.