UK boots out Russian diplomat, brands him a spy

UK boots out Russian diplomat, brands him a spy
# 08 May 2024 17:41 (UTC +04:00)

The British government will expel Russia's London defense attaché after accusing him of spying for the Kremlin, APA reports citing Politico.

In a statement in the House of Commons Wednesday, Home Secretary James Cleverly branded the diplomat an "undeclared military intelligence officer" — and said he is being expelled as part of a wider clampdown on "malign activity."

It's the latest move in a tit-for-tat diplomatic row that saw Russian impose its own restrictions on the U.K. embassy in Moscow.

In a release Wednesday, the British government also pointed to a host cyber security breaches attributed to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), including targeting lawmakers through spear-phishing campaigns and the hacking and leaking of trade documents. "I am announcing a package of measures to make clear to Russia that we will not tolerate such apparent escalations," Cleverly said.

The crackdown also includes the removal of diplomatic premises status from several Russian-owned properties in the U.K., which Cleverly said he believes "have been used for intelligence purposes."

The government also plans to cap the length of time Russian diplomats can spend in the U.K., as part of new restrictions on Russian diplomatic visas. The Russian ambassador to the U.K. has been summoned by the British government, it said.

Moscow's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the state news agency TASS: "Russia will provide an adequate response."

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