MOSCOW, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Russia Wednesday criticized Britain's expulsion of a diplomat as "unfriendly."
"The British side made an unfriendly move recently by groundlessly declaring one of the staff members at our embassy in London a persona non grata," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement reported by RIA Novosti.
"We had to take adequate measures in response. It is regrettable that the move was made just as the first reassuring tendencies in our relations with Britain were beginning to emerge," the statement said.
On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Dec. 10 he had asked the Russian Embassy in London to "withdraw a member of their staff from the U.K.," based on "clear evidence of activities by the Russian intelligence services against U.K. interests."
Russia responded last Thursday by requesting the removal of a British Embassy staffer in Moscow.
Britain is still "open to a more productive relationship with Russia," Hague said.