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British MP's aide spy case is media circus - Russian Foreign Ministry

RIA Novosti

20:46 07/12/2010

MOSCOW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) - The British media is turning the case of a suspected Russian spy facing deportation from the U.K. into a "vaudeville," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Katia Zatuliveter, 25, an aide to Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock on the influential Defense Select Committee, was arrested on Thursday and is set to be deported over allegations that she was connected to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

Britain's secret service, MI5, said the assistant had access to classified documents supplied to the committee. Hancock has recently tabled parliamentary questions about Britain's nuclear deterrent and the location of its international submarine bases.

Hancock has denied she is a spy.

But the Russian Foreign Ministry said the UK had not yet responded to its request for more information on the case or its offer to provide consular assistance to its citizen.

"As for the eagerness with which some media in the UK are trying to stage a vaudeville about the worn-out spy plot, this cannot fail to awaken pity," the ministry said on its website.

"We have no illusions that in Britain there are and will be highly influential forces, who are not interested in the normalization of Russian-British relations. We hope, however, that the London government's stated policy of improving bilateral cooperation will be reinforced by concrete acts."

The Russian embassy in London has requested information from the British authorities on the arrest of Zatuliveter, however no information from the Foreign or Home Offices has been received so far, Charge d'Affaires of the Russian Federation in the United Kingdom Alexander Sternik said.

The diplomat said that referring to indirect information Zatuliveter was really arrested.

"However, we have not been provided with information on why a Russian citizen with a valid visa has been restricted in freedom of movement for several days. No information about the charges against her has been provided either," Sternik said.

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