3 February 2010
Ukraine and Russia have publicly accused each other of spying.
The incident comes less than a week before the second and decisive round of the Ukrainian presidential election.
Click to hear the report:
Ukraine says that the five alleged Russian spies were caught with a camera concealed inside a pen, other espionage equipment and $2000 - a reported bribe for a Ukrainian contact.
The head of Ukraine's security service says that the five were trying to obtain military secrets. Four of them have been expelled from Ukraine, while the fifth has been detained.
Russia's security service, the FSB, has confirmed the detention, but denied the Ukrainian version of events. The FSB said its actions were a response to the recruitment of Russians by the Ukrainian security services.
The mutual recriminations come at a highly sensitive time. Just two weeks ago, Russia sent an ambassador to Ukraine after a five month absence. And on Sunday, Ukrainians will vote in an election to choose a successor to the outgoing President, Viktor Yushchenko.
Mr Yushchenko's time in office has been marked by strained relations with Moscow, and his departure was being seen as an opportunity for an improvement in ties between the two countries.
James Rodgers, BBC, Europe Regional Editor
Click to hear the vocabulary:
believed to be something but not proven in law
related to spying
officially ordered to leave (the country)
- has been detained
has been kept in the country as a prisoner
- the recruitment of
the process of getting people to work for an organistion or do a particular job, here, to act as spies
- The mutual recriminations
The situation in which both countries blame each other
- time in office
period serving as president
- strained relations
difficult and tense political connections