Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats, shuts Council, Consulate

Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats, shuts Council, Consulate

Britain's Foreign Office said Saturday that "Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable". "We're taking it very seriously as I think are many others".

It is the largest expulsion of diplomats from Britain since the Cold War.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking to CNN, slammed that remark.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the allegations were unacceptable and that British diplomats would be expelled, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

Russian Federation denies being the source of the nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals.

"Twenty three diplomatic staff at the British embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and to be expelled within a week", a foreign ministry statement said.

Lavrov said British accusations of Moscow's involvement are meant to distract public attention from the U.K's troubled exit from the European Union. Moreover, the British Council is to suspend its activities in Russian Federation "due to the unsettled status".

"We demand that material proof be provided of the allegedly found Russian trace", said Nebenzia.

U.K. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson called relations between the two countries "exceptionally chilly" and said Russian Federation should "go away and shut up".

Russian Federation denies any involvement and referred to the allegations as "absolutely boorish", suggesting that Britain's approach might partly be due to the government's problems over Brexit. These are people who pledge to punish diplomats.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration will maintain tough policies against Russian Federation until Moscow changes its behavior, the White House said on Thursday.

It said this was a response to Britain's "provocative actions" and "baseless accusations over the incident in Salisbury on March 4". The organization has been operating in Russian Federation since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

While Russia has vigorously denied involvement in the attack, Western powers see it as the latest sign of alleged Russian meddling overseas.

Addressing members of her Conservative Party on Saturday, May said the Russian move had been "anticipated" and that Britain would consider its next steps in the coming days, when the National Security Council is due to meet.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain's quarrel was not with the Russian people but with the Kremlin.

On Thursday May visited Salisbury, meeting police and medics and viewing the site where the Skripals were found critically ill.

In a strongly worded statement to the House of Commons, May said the "military grade" nerve agent used in the attack had been identified as Novichok, a substance developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

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