Disagreement over Alexander Sosonyuk, who was allegedly caught trying to obtain sensitive information, escalates tensions after troop buildup

Russia on Saturday said it would expel a Ukrainian diplomat, prompting an immediate pledge of retaliation from Kyiv, further escalating tensions after Moscow’s troop buildup on Ukraine’s eastern flank.

The detention of a Ukrainian consul in the second city, St Petersburg, comes at a time of global concern over a possible repeat of Moscow’s 2014 aggression, when Russia annexed the peninsula of Crimea and backed separatists in Ukraine’s east. Moscow claimed that the diplomat had been caught “red-handed” trying to obtain sensitive information.

Related: Nato tells Russia to stop military buildup around Ukraine

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