Skip to comments.Putin Vows Revenge As Britain Expels Diplomats
Posted on 07/16/2007 7:49:03 PM PDT by blam
Putin vows revenge as Britain expels diplomats
By David Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent, and Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
Last Updated: 3:07am BST 17/07/2007
Russia threatened Britain with "serious consequences" last night after David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, revived memories of the Cold War by announcing that four Russian diplomats were to be expelled from London.
President Vladimir Putin: emboldened by Russias growing economic strength
The decision showed how Anglo-Russian relations have sunk to their lowest ebb since the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. Mr Miliband said that Britain had no choice but to send a "clear and proportionate signal" to Moscow following President Vladimir Putin's refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the former KGB agent.
Mr Miliband is the first Foreign Secretary to remove any Russian diplomats for 11 years. The prospect of a tit-for-tat round of expulsions is a throwback to the era of Cold War tensions when each country saw the other as a rival.
A Scotland Yard investigation concluded that Mr Lugovoi should stand trial for allegedly murdering Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB spy and naturalised British citizen, in London last year. Mr Miliband said that a "significant body of evidence" implicated Mr Lugovoi in the "horrifying and lingering death" of Litvinenko from radiation poisoning.
In a statement to the House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary said that Britain had to show Russia the "consequences" of failing to hand over Mr Lugovoi. "We have chosen to expel four particular diplomats in order to send a clear and proportionate signal to the Russian government," he said.
Russia has 66 diplomats accredited to its embassy, consulate and trade mission in London. Those singled out for expulsion have not been named and are likely to leave Britain within days. Mr Miliband also ended talks with Russia designed to ease visa restrictions between the two countries. He added that Britain would seek support from the European Union.
Andrei Lugovoi: accused
William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, backed the Government and stressed the need for a "clear signal" to Russia.
The key question is how Moscow will react.
"London's position is immoral," said Mikhail Kamynin, the spokesman for the foreign ministry in Moscow. "They should clearly realise that such provocative actions masterminded by the British authorities will not be left without an answer and cannot but entail the most serious consequences for RussianBritish relations."
But Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, said that Britain had "no apologies for the action we have taken". He added: "I hope it's understood in other parts of the world that we are not prepared to allow a situation of lawlessness to develop in London as a result of a failure to act."
The Prime Minister said: "When an independent prosecuting authority makes it absolutely clear what is in the interests of justice - and there is no forthcoming co-operation - then action has to be taken."
Russia is likely to retaliate by expelling some of the 58 British diplomats based in Moscow.
If President Putin's government chooses to evict a large number, this could trigger a further round of expulsions of Russian diplomats from London.
Britain is the largest foreign investor in Russia, holding assets worth £1.5 billion, mainly in the crucial oil and gas sectors.
Moscow may place more pressure on British companies and restrict the travel of businessmen.
Mr Lugovoi told The Daily Telegraph that he was dismayed by the Foreign Secretary's comments and accused Scotland Yard of shoddy investigating.
"Frankly, I'm very surprised by the sharp reaction of the British Government," he said.
"Once again, I will reiterate that I had nothing to do with Litvinenko's murder and their assertion that the investigation was carried out in a proper and qualified way is a lie. They only met with me once to ask 25 formal questions and nothing since then."
But Marina Litvinenko, the murder victim's widow, welcomed Mr Miliband's statement.
"It makes me proud to be a UK citizen because I can see that my strong faith in the British authorities was well-founded," she said.
Whats he gonna do, blow up one of their submarines in the English channel?
Giving these commie thugs the 2014 winter olympics is going to go down as one of the worst blunders of all time.
Isn’t it about time for the French to surrender and the Germans to blame the US of causing this problem?
Your agents posioned a man on live TV using Nuke waste and now you are going to “kick” Vlad Putin, why don’t you go kick the Yukos CEO in the ribs on the way home from work Mr. Putin, you may feel better....
Communists only have one policy for everything. Brute force. It makes them extremely predictable and absolute morons when dealing with anything outside their own country.
They end up exposing half of Europe to radiation to kill one ex-spy, then act shocked when someone bitches about their actions.
russia’s still medieval.
I guess we’re going to have to boycott it again.
I hope not. I hate to see politics ruin the olympics, but awarding Russia the olympics given their current government and foreign policies is a total clusterf#$k.
Security at the russian olympics is going to be a nightmare. Every two bit gangster and criminal in that country is going to decend on it to hit the foreign tourists with every kind of scam and pety crime known to man. Not to mention all the extortion the russian government is going to demand by any foreign company that wants to do business at the olympics.
You can take the Pooty-poot out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of the Pooty-poot.
Somewhere, (probably way down below) Yuri Andropov is snickering.
Ah! A man who swallows Kremlin propaganda hook, line and sinker! How’s it going, Tovarish?
My apologies... I think I’ve just misunderstood your post. By “your agents”, I assume you are not parroting the Russian line that MI6 murdered Mr Litvinenko?
No, he's going to "nationalize" the British petroleum investments in Russia and transfer their assets to his friends and cronies.
He already F’ed BP.
Exactly, it’s not like one can go the corner chemist’s shop and buy polonium...
And that Russina Agent ran for his life getting out of the UK and now Putin won’t make him available for questioning..