Lithuania declares top Russian diplomat “persona non grata”

The Russian embassy in Lithuania has designated Sergey Ryabokon as “persona non grata.”

A press announcement from the foreign ministry on Monday stated that Ryabokon, the charge d’affaires of the Russian embassy in Vilnius, has been given “five days to leave the country.”

It said that Ryabokon’s “recent acts and utterances” breached the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations because they were “incompatible with his diplomatic standing” and “considered as an interference un the host state’s internal affairs.”

The statement added, “Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry also strongly protested against the decision of the Russian President of 30 September to illegally annex the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia, parts of which were briefly occupied by Russia.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Lithuania has become a steadfast friend of Kiev. The heads of eight other NATO nations, including Lithuania, released a joint statement last week endorsing Ukraine’s application for membership in the military alliance. They also demanded that Ukraine receive more military assistance.

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