U.K. to expel Russian defence attaché for ‘malign activity’ – National | Globalnews.ca

The United Kingdom will expel a Russian diplomat it accuses of being a spy, and revoke and restrict Russian diplomatic privileges after a British minister accused the country of “malign activity.”

U.K. Interior Minister James Cleverly said the British government will expel the Russian defence attaché, who he said is “an undeclared military intelligence officer,” as well as remove diplomatic status from several Russian-linked properties in the U.K. and impose new restrictions on Russian diplomatic visas.

“I’m announcing a package of measures to make clear to Russia that we will not tolerate such apparent escalations,” Cleverly said in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

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He said it was part of a broader pattern of Russian behaviour across Europe.

“These include plans for sabotage activities against military aid for Ukraine, in Germany and Poland, espionage in Bulgaria, and in Italy, cyber attacks and disinformation activities, airspace violations and GPS jamming with an impact on civil aviation,” he said.

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Last month Estonia accused Russia of jamming GPS signals and on Wednesday the Estonian foreign minister summoned the head of the Russian embassy in Tallin to protest what the minister said “caused serious damage to Estonian air traffic.”

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

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

— with files from Reuters’ Sarah Young and Essi Lehto

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