Moscow confirms British parliament 'spy' is Russian: report

7th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia has confirmed that a young woman detained in Britain on suspicion of spying for Moscow is one of its nationals, a foreign ministry source told the Interfax news agency Tuesday.

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.

"She is a Russian citizen. The Russian embassy (in London) has already requested that the Foreign Office provides information about what is happening," the diplomatic source told Interfax.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said that if Zatuliveter was Russian she would receive full consular support. He also added that it appeared "someone" was trying to halt an improvement in ties with Britain.

Britain's diplomatic relations with Russia are only just emerging from an icy period after the murder by poisoning of the dissident Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Liberal Democrat lawmaker Mike Hancock, who employed Zatuliveter as his research assistant in the House of Commons, has dismissed the spying allegations and said she was planning an appeal.

© 2010 AFP

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