Slovakia has expelled three employees of the Russian embassy in Bratislava for what the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs referred to as activities contrary to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The three employees have been ordered to leave Slovakia within 72 hours.
The Denník N newspaper had earlier reported that the Slovak police had detained at least three people on suspicion of espionage on behalf of Russia, but it is currently unknown whether the arrests are related to the expulsions of the Russian diplomacy staff.
Slovak diplomacy called on the Russian embassy in Bratislava to ensure that its representatives respect diplomatic customs.
The Denník N daily reported that an employee of the Slovak Ministry of Defense with the rank of colonel, a member of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS), and a person connected to the internet portal Hlavnespravy.sk were arrested. The website was blocked by the Slovak authorities after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with authorities using a new regulation that allows for the blocking of websites that spread alleged misinformation.
Military intelligence provided information and evidence of the suspected espionage, according to a statement by the Slovak Ministry of Defense. The Foreign Ministry also mentioned findings of the Slovak intelligence services in justifying the decision to expel the employees of the Russian embassy.
It was soon announced from Moscow that Russia would react to the expulsion of its embassy employees.
“This unreasonable action will not go unanswered,” the Russian Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti agency.