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Slovakia expels three Russian embassy staff; report of arrests for espionage

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By Reuters

PRAGUE -Slovakia has decided to expel three Russian embassy staff based on information from the secret service and they must leave the country within 72 hours, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs… at the same time strongly urges the Embassy of the Russian Federation that their representatives perform their activities in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” it said in a statement.

The ministry did not give any details.

Slovak news website http://www.dennikn.sk said without citing its sources that police arrested at least three Slovaks – a colonel from the Defence Ministry, a member of the Slovak counterintelligence service SIS, and a person related to a news website that the government shut down this month for spreading misinformation – for suspected espionage for Russia.

A spokesman for the police declined to comment, saying police representatives would hold a news conference on the matter on Tuesday.

The country’s Defence Minister, Jaroslav Nad, pasted a screenshot of the dennikn.sk article on his Facebook page and wrote that he could confirm that military intelligence provided police with “key intelligence information, including clear evidence” related to the case, but he gave no details.

“This is only the beginning, I believe the structure has opened through nicely. And we will go further. Clearly and thoroughly,” the minister wrote.

The Russian embassy in Bratislava had no immediate comment.