Russia accuses senior British diplomat of spying

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London, July 11 : Russia's intelligence services have accused a senior British diplomat of being a spy, igniting a new spying row with London.

Relations between Britain and Russia have been frosty since the killing of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB agent and outspoken critic of Russia's former president, Vladimir Putin.

Russian media reports alleged that a British diplomat, who was named in Russia as Chris Bowers, the acting director of UK trade and industry in Moscow, was in fact working for British intelligence services.

The allegation follows weeks of growing tensions between London and Moscow, The Telegraph reported.

Interfax, the Russian news agency, quoted an unnamed source from within Russia's intelligence services claiming that Bowers was a high-ranking member of the secret service and that the Briton had worked undercover as a BBC reporter in Uzbekistan in the 1990s.

Bowers was further accused of attending "suspicious" meetings with Chechnyan activists.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "I can confirm that a member of the British staff is suspected of spying by the Russians. He is the acting director of UK Trade and Industry. However, we do not comment on intelligence matters."

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