Russia says it has 'optimised' diplomatic staff numbers in Ukraine

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speaks during the annual news conference of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia January 14, 2022. Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via REUTERS

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MOSCOW, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Russia has decided to "optimise" its diplomatic staff numbers in Ukraine, fearing "provocations" by Kyiv or other party, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said on Saturday.

Maria Zakharova did not say whether that meant a reduction in staff numbers but said the embassy and consulates in Ukraine continued to perform their key functions.

Tensions have been mounting for weeks due to a Russian military buildup and surge of military activity that has fuelled fears that Russia could attack Ukraine. Russia denies any such plans.

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Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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