Russian spy chiefs have dramatically escalated an espionage row with the U.S. by publicly naming the CIA's station chief in Moscow.
The row started earlier this week when the Russian spy agency, the FSB, paraded what it said was a CIA spy, an American called Ryan Fogle, who was arrested carrying a 'spy kit' - an ill-fitting wig, dark glasses and a compass. Fogle was said to be working undercover, with an official job title of third secretary in the US embassy's political section in Moscow.
Fogle was filmed sitting in the offices of the FSB and Russia media speculated that he had been ordered to find out more about the dead Boston marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who visited relatives in Chechnya and Dagestan areas of Russia last year.
The row escalated last night when the FSB publicly named another CIA operative it said was the head of the US spy network in Moscow.
Naming senior espionage officials is a serious breach of long-established protocol that the U.S. and Russia share the name of their spy network chiefs in each others embassies, and is seen by observers as a carefully-calculated snub to the U.S. by the Russian government.
An FSB spokesman named the CIA chief apparently in retaliation, after saying the U.S. had 'crossed a red line' by sending Fogle to spy, after the Americans were warned to stop trying to recruit Russian citizens as agents.
Observers said the voe was likely to provoke a reaction from Washington, at a delicate time when the two countries had just finalized new agreements over the sharing of intelligence in the fight against Islamic terrorism.
Ryan Fogle has since been released by the Russians and told be will be expelled from the country.