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Russia gives British diplomat a week to leave

Russia gives British diplomat a week to leave
17 Mayıs 2024 00:28
13

A British diplomat has been given a week to leave Russia in an escalation of a diplomatic spat over spying.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement the removal of Capt Adrian Coghill was in response to “unfriendly anti-Russian actions” from Britain.

On 8 May, external, the Russian defence attache was expelled from London for alleged espionage as an “undeclared military intelligence officer”.

Russia says its response “does not end with this measure”.

It added the “initiators of the escalation will be informed about further retaliatory steps”.

It was inevitable following the UK’s earlier announcement that Russia would declare Capt Coghill, a Royal Naval officer and Britain’s defence attache based at the embassy in Moscow, persona non grata.

Russian statecraft follows closely the principle of proportionality, which means for every tit, there must be a tat.

So British diplomats in Moscow will expect further constraints.

All this would have been taken into account when the government decided last week to crackdown on Russian espionage in the UK.

Ministers would have decided that the loss of Britain’s defence expert in the embassy in Moscow was worth the gain of disrupting Russian activities in the UK.

Writing on X, previously known as Twitter, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps called the expulsion by Russia a “desperate move”.

He said Russia’s only issue with Capt Coghill was that he “personified the UK’s unwavering support for Ukraine in the face of his illegal and barbaric invasion”.

The removal of Col Maxim Elovik was among a number of other measures announced by the Home Office, Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence – as part of plans to “tighten defences against alleged malign activity by Russia” across Europe.


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