Russia has accused Britain of deliberately trying to worsen relations between the two countries by “squeezing out” its diplomats, in violation of international law. Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko gave a series of statements and interviews this week and suggested the Government was trying to “degrade” the Russian embassy’s work in London with its treatment of the Russian diplomats. The embassy also says border officials are putting “political or psychological pressure” on Russian nationals visiting Britain and complains London’s behaviour is confrontational and risky. “Our senior diplomat had to depart the UK last month because his visa was not extended, another diplomat left without replacement this month, (and) two staff members will have to leave for the same reason,” a Russian embassy spokesman said in a statement. “Such an obvious attempt by the British side to wreck at its own will the established international order … testifies to a dangerous gamble by the UK in respect of the Russian diplomatic and consular missions.” The Foreign Office has responded by saying visas for diplomats are issued according to its own procedures in collaboration with the Home Office. “Our approach to extending visas for Russian Embassy staff in London reflects the arrangements for British Embassy staff in Moscow,” said a spokeswoman.
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