Sweden has claimed that Belarus has expelled its ambassador to the country after a pro-democracy stunt involving hundreds of teddy bears.
On July 4, a Swedish public relations firm used a light plane to dump 879 teddies bearing slogans supporting human rights over Belarus .
The invasion of the toys into Belarus airspace prompted the president, Alexander Lukashenko, to sack his air defence chief and head of the border guards.
According to Sweden's foreign minister, Carl Bildt, Mr Lukashenko has now expelled his country's ambassador, Stefan Eriksson.
Stockholm retaliated by telling Belarus its ambassador is "not welcome" in the Scandinavian country.
It is the latest in a series of diplomatic spats and tit-for-tat expulsions between the authoritarian state and other European nations.
Mr Bildt said the Lukashenko regime had expelled his country's envoy "for being too supportive of human rights".
He added: "They have made accusations against the ambassador. They are groundless. Fundamentally, this is about Sweden being engaged in democracy and human rights in Belarus."
In the Belarus capital of Minsk, Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said the Swedish ambassador had not been expelled, but his accreditation had not been extended.
"Mr Eriksson has worked in Minsk for seven years. In this time his activity has been directed not at strengthening Belarusian-Swedish relations but at destroying them," he said.
Mr Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and was once described by former US President George Bush's administration as Europe's last dictator.
Tensions are on the rise between Belarus and the West, especially after the EU voted in February to add 21 names to a list of some 200 Belarusian officials who face an assets freeze and are prevented from traveling to EU countries because of alleged human rights violations.
Following the teddy bear drop by Swedish activists, the Belarus president told his new border guards chief not to hesitate to use weapons to stop any future air intrusions from abroad.
The Swedish plane dropped the toys near the town of Ivenets and near Minsk, each carrying a message urging the former Soviet republic to show greater respect for human rights.
Mr Bildt said the incident had not been mentioned directly in the context of the expulsion of the Swedish envoy but noted that "it might have had an impact on the general atmosphere".