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Russia expels Colombian diplomats in tit-for-tat move after spying accusations

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Moscow said Wednesday it declared two Colombian diplomats “persona non-grata” after two Russians were expelled from its embassy in Bogota over accusations of spying.

Authorities in the South American nation on Tuesday said they expelled two Russians in early December over a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, without providing further detail.

Local media said they were involved in intelligence activities.

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In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian foreign ministry said it summoned Colombian ambassador Alfonso Lopez Caballero, adding that it was declaring “persona non-grata” two employees of the Colombian embassy in Moscow.

Moscow called the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bogota a “groundless decision”, saying this “step does not correspond to the spirit of traditionally friendly and mutually respectful relations” between Moscow and Bogota.

Caballero told state news agency RIA Novosti that the two Colombian diplomats were about to board a plane out of Moscow.

Several European countries - including Bulgaria, Austria, the Czech Republic and Norway - expelled Russian diplomats earlier this year amid mounting tensions between Russia and the West.

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