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Last updated at 15:06 BST, Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Russian response to spy allegations

Summary

30 June 2010

Ten people suspected of being Russian spies have been arrested and charged in the U.S.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has responded to the allegations and denied that there is any evidence against those arrested.

Reporter:
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

Sergei Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister

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Report

Someone in the Russian Foreign Ministry appears to have decided that the best form of defence is attack.

It called the U.S. spy allegations 'unfounded and unseemly' and it accused the U.S. Justice Department of engaging in Cold War spy stories.

Using unmistakable and characteristic sarcasm, Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said the timing of the arrests had been done with 'special elegance'.

Russian politicians are fond of conspiracy theories and some are already concluding that this is all a right-wing plot designed to destabilise Russia-U.S. relations. But Russian security analysts, like Konstanin Eggert, say the really odd thing about this alleged spy ring is that it doesn't appear to have done any real spying.

Konstantin Eggert:
"They haven't managed to gather any kind of significant information or didn't have any kind of sources worth noticing, most stuff they transmitted, if they indeed transmitted it, could have been lifted off the New York Times website."

As for the Kremlin, it is keeping very quiet. President Medvedev doesn't want this peculiar spy scandal to derail his much bigger goal of a new strategic and economic partnership with America.

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC News, Moscow

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Vocabulary

unfounded

without evidence

unseemly

inappropriate

engaging in Cold war spy stories

making a situation similar to when the two countries were involved in the tense political war of the 1950s to 1980s.

conspiracy theories

beliefs that the official explanations for incidents are not true and that the government is hiding the truth

concluding

believing

a right-wing plot

a plan formed by groups in the US who are strong supporters of capitalism

to destabilise

to damage

lifted off

copied directly from

to derail

to cause problems for or stop a process that is in progress

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