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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 16:43 GMT
Russia expels two Canadian diplomats
Moscow covered in snow
Russia says the expulsion is a retaliation
Russia has asked two Canadian diplomats to leave the country in an apparent tit-for-tat move.

A statement from the Russian foreign ministry said the two were involved in "activities incompatible with their diplomatic status".

Correspondents say the form of words is usually used as a euphemism for espionage.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the move was in response to Canada's recent demand that two Russian diplomats leave Canada for no apparent reason.

Canadian announcement

"The Canadian side expelled two Russian diplomats from Canada not long ago," the spokesman, Victor Oshurkov, said.

The Canadian foreign ministry in Ottawa announced the Russians' expulsion on Saturday and said the two had left the country several weeks ago.

The Canadian Embassy in Moscow refused to comment, and no other details were immediately available.

Last week, Russia expelled two Swedish diplomats in what appeared to be retaliation for Sweden's expulsion of two Russian diplomats last month.

They were expelled in connection with an investigation into industrial espionage at the telecommunications company, Ericsson.

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