Home World News UK To Expel Russian Defence Attache For ‘Malignant Activity’

UK To Expel Russian Defence Attache For ‘Malignant Activity’

"Our message to Russia is clear, stop this illegal war, withdraw your troops from Ukraine, cease this malign activity...we will not be taken for fools," said Interior minister James Cleverly.

LONDON: The UK will expel Russia’s defence attache in response to what interior minister James Cleverly called Moscow’s “malign activity”. It would also remove diplomatic status from some properties and limit the length of Russian diplomatic visas, he said.

Addressing parliament on Wednesday, Cleverly said Britain was already “an extremely challenging operating environment for Russian intelligence services.” The new measures would “only serve to strengthen our resilience to the Russian threat,” he said.

Britain has introduced several waves of sanctions on Russian companies and individuals since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Cleverly said the Conservative government would not falter in its support of Kyiv.

“We will expel the Russian defence attache, who is an undeclared military intelligence officer,” Cleverly said. Britain would also “remove diplomatic premises status from several Russian-linked properties in the UK,” and impose “new restrictions on Russian diplomatic visas, including capping the length of time Russian diplomats can spend in the UK,” he added.

In a terse reply, Russia’s foreign ministry said it would “respond appropriately” to these measures.

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Last week, NATO members said they were “deeply concerned” about recent attacks they attributed to Russia that affected the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Britain.

In April, a British man was charged over alleged hostile state activity intended to benefit Russia. This allegedly involved recruiting others for an arson attack on a Ukrainian-linked commercial property in London.

On Wednesday, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said British allegations of Russian involvement in the arson attack were absurd and part of an information war.

Cleverly said he expected the response to Britain’s latest measures would prompt “accusations of Russophobia, conspiracy theories and hysteria from the Russian government”. But the British government would “not be taken for fools,” he said.