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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

British Officials Continue to Receive Russian Visas

Russia is issuing visas to British officials despite earlier threatening to halt them as part of a diplomatic dispute with Britain, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Moscow and London have each expelled four diplomats and warned of other measures in a tit-for-tat row linked to Russia's refusal to extradite the man Britain suspects of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Federal Security Service officer who had become a British citizen.

On July 19, the Foreign Ministry said it would not consider visa applications from British officials until Britain explained its pledge to tighten the rules for issuing entry permits to government representatives.

"A few days later ... the explanations we requested arrived, and the question was closed," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said.

Asked about a ban on issuing visas to British officials, he replied: "There is, and there was, none."

In the highest-level visit by a British official since the diplomatic expulsions, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks was to visit Russia this week to review progress on programs to improve nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation.

The country's diplomatic relations with Britain hit a post-Cold war low this month after Moscow refused to extradite former security services officer Andrei Lugovoi.

Britain has named him as chief suspect in the murder last year of Litvinenko, who died from a dose of the isotope polonium-210.

After his death in a London hospital, Litvinenko's associates published what they said was his deathbed statement accusing President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder. The Kremlin has dismissed the accusation.