Moscow asked Ukraine on Wednesday to recall two senior diplomats from Russia, following a similar request from the Ukrainian side, RIA-Novosti quoted the Foreign Ministry announcement Thursday.
Headquarters of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Ukrainian Ambassador to Russia, Kostiantyn Hryshchenko, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to discuss the issue with Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.
"The Ukrainian ambassador was notified that Russia proposes that Ukraine consider recalling its consul general in St. Petersburg and one of the counselors at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow," the ministry said in a statement.
Kiev earlier asked the Russian consul general in Odessa and the senior counselor at the Russian embassy to end their work in Ukraine. However, Ukraine's decision on the consul general was later "suspended". Mirroring the announcement, Russia's Foreign Ministry said its decision on the Ukrainian consul general was also suspended.
However, the ministry said in a statement: "Russia considers the diplomatic actions previously taken by Ukraine to be a move aimed against Russia, to the detriment of bilateral relations."
The ministry also said that before making the announcement, Russia had warned Ukraine that it would be responsible for any negative consequences of "unfriendly" actions.
The statement said that Russia "nevertheless reaffirms its desire to develop friendly and neighborly relations with Ukraine to serve the interests of our peoples."