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Russia-Britain Relations Sour After Expulsion of Diplomats

Russia expelled four British diplomats Thursday, days after England did the same in protest of Russia refusing to extradite a suspect in the murder investigation of a former Russian spy. A reporter provides an update.

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    That spat between Russia and Britain. We begin with a report by Julian Manyon of Independent Television News.

  • JULIAN MANYON, ITV News Correspondent:

    In mid-afternoon, the British ambassador, Anthony Brenton, boarded his Range Rover and drove the short distance to the Stalin-era tower that houses the Russian foreign ministry. When he emerged 15 minutes later, he said little. But soon, a Russian spokesman announced the tit-for-tat expulsion of four British diplomats and an end to cooperation with Britain in the war against terror.

  • MIKHAIL KAMYNIN, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Russia (through translator):

    Russia has not been seeking conflicts with Britain. The position taken by their new Labour government is based on anything but common sense.


    In London, the new foreign secretary, David Miliband, delivered a firm reply.

  • DAVID MILIBAND, Foreign Secretary, United Kingdom:

    Good afternoon. The decision to expel four embassy staff is completely unjustified, and we will be doing everything to ensure that they and their families are properly looked after.


    Russia has once again made it clear that Andrei Lugovoi will not be extradited to Britain.

    Is the Russian government trying to escalate the situation?

  • ANDREI ZOLOTOV, Journalist:

    No, I don't think so. If they expel more diplomats, then we will see it as escalating. I mean, and this is just simply kind of what they have to do by the rules of the game into which they've been drawn.


    The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, seems determined to keep the crisis at arm's length. Today, he attended a folk festival in the Russian countryside. Accusations against him continue to circulate in the West, but Putin clearly believes that he can ride out the storm.


    Ray Suarez takes it from there.

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