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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spying Expulsions Labeled 'Unfair'

Foreign Ministry officials have lashed out at Britain for expelling four Russian diplomats from London, saying the tit-for-tat expulsions were "unfair and unacceptable" and that Britain should rethink the move.

On Friday, Britain formally demanded the withdrawal of four Russian diplomats in response to Russia's demand earlier in the day that four British diplomats withdraw from Moscow. Neither side has released the names of the diplomats concerned.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Grigory Kasurin said in a statement Saturday that Britain's action was unjustified.

"The British reaction was automatic and arbitrary. Representatives of the Russian Embassy in London did not do anything wrong and did not violate British laws," he said.

A British Foreign Office spokesman said that Britain stood by its decision.

"We have it the other way," he said. "The Russian decision was groundless. Ours was not. There is no further comment."

Meanwhile, neither side has released the names of the diplomats who have been marked for expulsion.

"The names have not been released and will not be in the near future," said the British Foreign office spokesman, declining to say whether or not their diplomats had left Moscow yet. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman made a similar statement later in the day.