Russia has responded like-for-like to Britain’s expulsion of four Russian diplomats from the UK. The British ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry to be told four UK diplomats must leave Russia. The UK announced its expulsions of four Russian diplomats in response to Moscow’s refusal to extradite the chief suspect in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London last year.
Foreign Ministry spokesman in Moscow, Mikhail Kamynin said: “We have also announced that in all visa matters our actions will mirror those of the British. We have demanded that the ambassador clarify statements by Britain on the hardening of the UK visa regime for Russian officials.”
In response to Britain’s request for Andrei Lugovoy to stand trial in the UK for the murder of Litvinenko, Russia has always pointed out that the extradition of its citizens is banned by the constitution. The British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the Russian expulsions were unjustified.
Lugovoy is suspected by the British authorities of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko in London last year. He has always maintained his innocence, saying the murder was carried out by the British secret service MI6. Litvinenko, who was a British citizen and a vocal critic of President Putin, died a lingering death after being poisoned with the rare radioactive isotope, Polonium 210.