Russia Expels 23 British Diplomats over Spy Poisoning Row
Russia has announced it is kicking out 23 British diplomats as the impasse deepens over the poisoning of ex-double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
This comes the UK’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats – believed to be intelligence agents –earlier this week, after the Kremlin failed to respond to a Tuesday deadline set by Theresa May demanding its explanation in the nerve agent attack.
The British ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow was summoned for talks with the foreign ministry on Saturday as Moscow said the UK diplomats must leave the country within one week, Sky writes.
In an escalation of the hostilities, Russia has withdrawn permission for Britain to open a general consulate in St Petersburg and says it will be closing the British Council in Russia.
Mr Bristow reiterated that the UK has no dispute with the Russian people, but said “we will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort which is not only an attack on the UK but also on the international rules based systems on which all countries – including Russia – depend for their safety”.
Russia has continued to deny possessing the deadly nerve agent – novichok – confirmed to have been used in the 4 March attack.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said it is “overwhelmingly likely” that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off the nerve agent attack.
And in response, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called Mr Johnson’s claims “shocking and unforgivable”.
Mr Lavrov had earlier said that Moscow had “stopped paying attention” to the poisoning claims, and called UK’s refusal to work with Russia a “violation of international agreements”.
Russian elections are due to take place on Sunday, with Mr Putin widely expected to win a fourth term in office after being in power for 18 years.
ENJOY FREE CONTENTS FROM US
IN YOUR EMAIL
Breaking News, Events, Music & More
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.