Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats in row over spy poisoning

Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats in row over spy poisoning

Russia's Foreign Ministry ordered the expulsion of 23 British diplomats from Russia on Saturday in response to Britain's decision to expel Russian envoys in connection with the Skripal case.

London has asked Moscow to explain the use of a military-grade nerve agent for the poisoning in England of Skripal and his daughter and United Kingdom police and the Security Service (MI5) said that they were pursuing 14 suspicious death cases that may lead to the Russian government.

Russian Federation was "in flagrant breach of worldwide law", she told her Conservative Party's spring forum, adding that Britain "will consider our next steps in the coming days".

It also said it would close the British Council in Russian Federation, which promotes cultural ties between the nations, and the British Consulate in St Petersburg. "We can be reassured by the strong support we have received from our friends and allies around the world", May said in London.

"23 diplomatic officers of British Embassy in Moscow are declared personae non-gratae and are expelled from the country within a week".

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova speaks during a news conference at United Nations headquarters, September 22, 2017. The U.K. diplomats have a week to leave.

Russia's ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told the same programme that his country has destroyed its reserves of such substances and a British research laboratory could be the source of the nerve agent used in the attack.

Echoing Mr Johnson's remarks, Mr Czaputowicz said: "We are sure that it is the Russian state which is involved in this attempt".

"Any reasonable man would understand that it's just sheer nonsense, complete rubbish to think that anyone in Russian Federation could do anything like that in the run-up to the presidential election and the World Cup", he said.

More news: RUSSIA MEDDLING: Mueller subpoenas Trump's organisation

Russian Federation has said is open to cooperation with Britain, but has refused Britain's demands to explain how Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military, was used against the Skripals.

Speaking on Russia-24 television, Zakharova said Britain is taking a tough line against Russia because of frustration at recent advances of Russian-backed Syrian government forces against Western-backed rebels.

She said Russian Federation, which denied involvement in the attack, was in "flagrant breach of global law and the Chemical Weapons Convention".

Britain and Russian Federation have each expelled 23 diplomats, broken off high-level contacts and taken other punitive steps in the escalating tit-for-tat dispute, which clouded the run-up to Sunday's presidential election in Russian Federation.

The British Foreign Office offered its own harsh words.

It also said it would close the British Council in Russian Federation, which promotes cultural ties between the nations.

The new facility will be located at the Porton Down military research center, which was instrumental in identifying Russian Federation as the source of the nerve agent used to target Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this month.

A British policeman was also poisoned when he went to help them and remains in a serious but stable condition.

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