Britain not to retaliate against Russia

By RIA Novosti

London : The British Foreign Office has said it will not take any diplomatic measures in retaliation for the closure of two British Council offices by Russia.

Support TwoCircles

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has indicated that no retaliatory measures against Russia would be taken for Moscow’s action against the British Council offices, a foreign office spokesman told RIA Novosti.

The spokesman was reacting to press reports Sunday that the British government was preparing to expel some Russian diplomats.

The Mail had said the British government was getting ready to expel over 30 Russian diplomats who are suspected intelligence agents, and the Guardian wrote that the government was holding talks with the European Union (EU) and the US on additional measures against Russia, including blocking a new Russia-EU partnership agreement.

The British Council office in Russia’s St. Petersburg suspended work Wednesday, and the Yekaterinburg office in the Urals closed temporarily Thursday following Russian accusations of legal irregularities.

British Council’s Moscow office is operating.

British Ambassador in Moscow Tony Brenton and Miliband insisted the Council’s operations in Russia were absolutely legitimate.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Friday Britain’s attempts to “politicise” the situation surrounding British Council would only harm bilateral relations, and spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said London’s decision to suspend the Council’s regional offices had been long overdue.

“The decision to suspend the British Council’s offices in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg is what the British side should have done long ago,” he said.