Russia expels Romanian diplomat for spying

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Russia's FSB security agency on Monday detained a Romanian diplomat for spying, and he was ordered to leave the country within 48 hours, an agency spokesman told AFP.

"Gabriel Grecu... was detained by FSB in Moscow on August 16 during an attempt to receive secret information of a military nature from a Russian citizen," the spokesman said, claiming that Grecu worked for a Romanian intelligence agency.

"Items of spying equipment that fully reveal his hostile activity against Russia have been confiscated from the intelligence officer," the spokesman told AFP on customary condition of anonymity.

He added that the FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, was currently conducting an investigation.

Grecu was working under cover as the first secretary of the political department at the Romanian embassy in Moscow, the spokesman charged.

Russia has declared the senior Romanian diplomat "persona non grata" and ordered him to leave the country, the FSB said.

"The foreigner has been declared persona non grata and should leave the territory of our country within the next 48 hours," the FSB said in a statement, referring to a decision by the country's foreign ministry.

Grecu's work was incompatible with his diplomatic status, the FSB statement said.

Romania's foreign ministry refused to make any immediate comment Monday.

"All I can say to you is that the ministry of foreign affairs is not commenting on this subject," ministry spokesman Doris Mircea was quoted as telling private Realitatea TV by telephone.

The report comes on the heels of the biggest spy swap between Russia and the United States since the Cold War in July, after Washington busted a group of 10 Kremlin spies and deported them in return for four Russians accused of spying for the West.

© 2010 AFP

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