Britain, Russia expel diplomats suspected of espionage

15:21, December 22, 2010      

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Britain expelled on Tuesday a diplomat from Russia's embassy in London and Russia responded in kind as the recent spat between the two countries over espionage continues.

Britain made the request on Dec. 10 for "clear evidence" of Russian intelligence service activities against British interest, said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Russia, in return, asked a British diplomat in Moscow to leave on Dec. 16. Both diplomats have been withdrawn, according to a statement by the British Foreign Ministry.

Earlier this month, Moscow accused Britain of "paranoid spymania" and hinted that the arrest of Katia Zatuliveter, a Russian aide to a British member of parliament, could hurt their efforts to improve relationship with Britain.

Russia's ties with Britain soured after the 2006 murder in London of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko with a rare radioactive isotope. Moscow has refused to extradite Britain's main suspect in the case, former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoi.

Source: Xinhua

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