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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lawmakers Threaten Britain with Retaliation

Senior lawmakers Thursday vowed tit-for-tat retaliation for any drastic measures -- including expulsion of diplomats -- Britain might take over Russia's refusal to extradite murder suspect Andrei Lugovoi.

The expulsion of Russian diplomats over Moscow's refusal to hand over Lugovoi "would mean a failure of the British policy ... and responsibility for this would fully lie with the British side," Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee, told Interfax on Thursday.

Citing diplomatic sources, British media reported Thursday that Britain was considering expelling Russian diplomats over the case.

Lugovoi is wanted in Britain for his purported involvement in the poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko.

Litvinenko died Nov. 23, three weeks after ingesting a rare radioactive isotope. British prosecutors say he was poisoned during a Nov. 1 meeting with Lugovoi and others at a London hotel.

British Ambassador Anthony Brenton handed a request May 28 to the Foreign Ministry for Lugovoi's extradition to face murder charges in Britain. The Prosecutor General's Office refused on July 5, citing a constitutional ban on handing over its citizens.

In a separate interview Thursday, Kosachyov said the ultimate goal of the extradition request was to discredit the Kremlin, which Litvinenko implicated in his poisoning shortly before he died.