Ukraine Warns Russian Ambassador That He May Be Declared Persona Nongrata

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has warned Russian Ambassador Viktor Chernomyrdin of the possibility that he could be declared persona non grata because of his undiplomatic remarks in relation to Ukraine and its leadership.

Russian Ambassador Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Chernomyrdin was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, where Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko expressed protest regarding what Ukraine sees as Chernomyrdin's unfriendly and openly undiplomatic judgments, comments, and remarks in relation to Ukraine and its leadership, of which the ministry press service reported later in the day.

"Such actions by the ambassador go against the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, grossly violate the standards of diplomatic ethics and international law, and are incompatible with status as chief of a diplomatic representation in a host country," Ohryzko was quoted as saying.

Chernomyrdin was also told that the Russian consuls general in Kharkiv and Odesa and some other diplomats from the Russian Embassy to Ukraine have also violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961, which could prompt Kyiv to apply Article 9 of the convention.

Paragraph 1 of Article 9 of the Vienna Convention says, "The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable.

In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission. A person may be declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of the receiving State".

Paragraph 2 of the said Article says, "If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations under paragraph 1 of this article, the receiving State may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the mission."

Kyiv recently expressed its displeasure with Chernomyrdin's remarks in Ukraine's address.

A Ukrainian diplomatic source told Interfax on February 13 that this issue was touched upon in a telephone conversation between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the day before.

Ohryzko had pointed out to Lavrov that some of Chernomyrdin's comments regarding Ukraine were critical and incorrect, which, in Ukraine's view, had become systematic of late, the source said.

"Such actions cannot be qualified other than as a provocation," the source said.

Source: Interfax