BRITAIN is continuing to squeeze Russia by refusing to issue visas for new diplomats arriving in London.

The Kremlin’s ambassador to the UK has complained that his embassy is being “suffocated” as he can’t bring in new staff to replace departing ones.

The move is being seen as continued retaliation for the novichok assassination attempt on ex-MI6 agent Sergei Skripal, which killed Dawn Sturgess by mistake last month.

A total of 23 Russian spies were expelled from Britain after the initial nerve agent attack in March when Theresa May blamed Moscow for it.

Russia’s Ambassador to London Alexander Yakovenko complained: “They cannot work here forever, but those people cannot be replaced.

“For example, an employee, who was heading the press office, has left without any replacement.

“It is an intentional policy carried out by the current British government”.

British visas for his staff now take as long as 18 months to issue, Mr Yakovenko complained in an interview with Moscow’s Rossiya-24 TV channel.

He added: “The mission is being suffocated because people are being expelled while some just end their tenure in a natural way”.

The Foreign Office did not last night deny the Russian ambassador’s accusations.

An FCO spokeswoman would only say: “We hold regular dialogue at official level with Russia on the visa exchange process”.