Britain stands firm in 'spy' row

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The Independent Online
Britain yesterday threatened to hit back if Russia went ahead with plans to expel British diplomats, after Russian intelligence claimed to have unmasked a British spy in Moscow. Russia is due to announce today how many diplomats it will expel.

Russian intelligence agents said they had arrested an agent for the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) after he was "caught red-handed" trying to communicate with his controller. The alleged spy, whom officials refused to name, will now be tried for high treason, which carries a possible death penalty. The affair is the worst spying row for seven years.

The Russians said they will expel "a number" of British diplomats. Britain immediately threatened Russia with tit-for-tat expulsions. The Foreign Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind, briefed John Major on events. MPs on the Commons select committee on security last night warned of the growing threat of Russian espionage in London.

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