Russia says it will expel four British diplomats, answering Britain's decision to eject four Russian diplomats amid a standoff over the poisoining of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko.
Many had expected Russia's response to the expulsion of its diplomats from London three days earlier to be far worse. Moscow says that in addition to expelling four British diplomats, it will stop issuing visas to British officials and end counterterrorism cooperation with London.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin, who made the announcement, called Britain's decision "provocative and unfriendly."
"Moscow's actions in reply," he said, "are targeted, balanced and minimal."
Britain said on Monday it had decided to expel the Russian diplomats in response to Moscow's refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the top suspect in the British investigation into Litvinenko's murder in November 2006.