Russia checking nationality of alleged spy: foreign minister

6th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Moscow is checking the nationality of a woman said to be Russian who worked in the British parliament and faces deportation on suspicion of spying, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

"We are looking into the facts right now. If she is our citizen, we will give her consular support and talk to her," Lavrov said during an official visit to Warsaw.

Asked whether the incident could stop the process of building ties with Britain, Lavrov said: "It won't stop us, but someone is trying to stop them."

"This is not the first time when positive changes are ripening and someone inevitably... ," Lavrov said, with the remainder of his sentence inaudible.

British authorities detained 25-year-old Katya Zatuliveter last Thursday and she faces deportation on suspicions of espionage.

British domestic intelligence agency MI5 said she was working for the Russian intelligence service as a "sleeper" agent, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.

It is thought to be the first time since the end of the Cold War that someone working in Britain's parliament has been accused of spying for Russia.

Last week Russia won the right to host the World Cup in 2018, having been picked over Britain and leading the Russian press to allege that Zatuliveter's detainment was a "petty act of revenge".

© 2010 AFP

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