Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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#6 - JRL 2006-23- JRL Home
Putin wants proposals from Foreign Ministry, FSB over 'spy row'

ST. PETERSBURG. Jan 25 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has questioned the wisdom of expelling the British intelligence agents who worked as employees of the British embassy in Russia.

"As far as I am concerned, my opinion is that if these intelligence agents are expelled, they will send new ones. These new people may prove to be smart. In this case, we will have to go to much trouble spotting them. Think about it," Putin told a news conference in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

"The Foreign Ministry and the Federal Security Service will have to present proposals on the matter," he said.

"As a rule, intelligence agents working under diplomatic cover in various countries have been deported from the country in question in recent years. I do not know whether it is right or wrong, but such trends have been observed in recent years," the president said.