DUBLIN, IRELAND: The Irish Times on Friday said that the Russian diplomat who was expelled over fake passports is a senior official in the embassy's consular section.
Alexander Smirnov was ordered to leave Ireland by the Department of Foreign Affairs for his alleged involvement in the production of six fake Irish passports used for spying activities.
The diplomat is the first secretary in the consular section of the Russian Embassy in Dublin. Smirnov was given a two-week period to leave the Irish capital, where he has been stationed for many years.
Ambassador to Ireland Mikhail Timoshkin was informed that the accreditation of a member of his staff with diplomatic status was terminated, in line with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov strongly condemned the expulsion of the diplomat and labeled the Irish decision as an unfriendly act. He added that the action "will not go without a corresponding reaction."
The expulsion was announced following a Garda Síochána investigation that concluded Russian intelligence agents stole the identities of six Irish citizens to produce fake passports.
In June 2010, a Russian spy ring was unveiled by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Twelve unregistered agents were detained for sending secret messages and following orders received from the Russian government.
In mid-December, the British government expelled a Russian diplomat over espionage suspicions. In retaliation, Russia requested the removal of a British diplomat.
(BNO NEWS )