Russia Orders the Expulsion of 23 British Diplomats in Retaliation

Mikhail Japaridze  TASS

Mikhail Japaridze TASS

Donald Trump said it looked as though the Russians were behind it. "We perceive all these things calmly, for me the conversation with the minister, even for such an unpleasant incident for them, is always an opportunity to talk and ask those questions that I want to ask", the diplomat added. The modus operandi of the attack was similar to the polonium poisoning of another former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in London in 2006, an attack that is likely to have been approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin according to a United Kingdom inquiry.

Former spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4 and remain in hospital in critical condition.

Earlier this week, Britain announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and suspension of high-level contacts over the poisoning.

"But Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter", she said at the Conservative Spring Forum in London.

The Foreign Secretary's comments prompted a rebuke form Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Russian Federation is to expel 23 British diplomats amid tensions over the nerve agent attack on a former spy and his daughter in the UK.

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"The crisis in relations between Moscow and London has reached a new peak", it said.

Russian Federation has ordered the expulsion of 23 British diplomats in Moscow as the diplomatic crisis between the two countries deepens. The statement asserted Russia was acting "in response to the unfounded accusation against the Russian Federation for what happened in Salisbury".

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Investigators later determined that they had been made ill by a nerve agent first produced in laboratories in Soviet Russia as part of a chemical-warfare program.

But "Russia's reaction could be also be more wide-reaching", it predicted, citing diplomatic sources.

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He had previously said Russian Federation had no motive to target Skripal, but suggested others could use the poisoning to "complicate" the World Cup.

May said Britain would also clamp down on murky Russian money and strengthen the government's ability to impose sanctions on those who abuse human rights, though she gave few details.

"It is an affront to the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons", May said.

In a statement it said: "We believe that the statement British Prime Minister Theresa May made in the parliament on March 14, concerning measures to punish Russian Federation for its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, is an unprecedentedly blatant provocation, which undermines the foundations of dialogue between our countries".

The leaders did not say what, if any, actions they would take if Russian Federation does not comply.

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