Moscow Apr 4 (AFP) Moscow on Wednesday said it would expel a Hungarian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move after Budapest kicked out a Russian representative over the poisoning of a former double agent in the UK.

Hungary has unusually warm ties with Russia for a European Union country, but last month became one of 18 bloc members to expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain.

“In response to the unfriendly and unreasonable demand from Hungary to expel a Russian diplomatic worker on the basis of Britain’s unproven accusation regarding Russia in the so-called ‘Skripal affair’, Russia is declaring a worker in the Hungarian embassy persona non grata,” the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

Hungarian ambassador had been called into the ministry, the statement added.

The move came days ahead of an election in Hungary that will likely extend the term of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The rightwing premier was one of just a few EU leaders to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his own re-election last month.

Orban has repeatedly clashed with Brussels over the rule of law and immigration, and he and Putin visit each other regularly.

The Hungarian leader has said that rather than liberal democracy he favoured building an “illiberal state” and praised Russia as a model. (AFP) SMJ SMJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.