In tit-for-tat move Russia expels 23 UK diplomats

Russia Expels 23 UK Diplomats In Retaliatory Move

Russia Expels 23 UK Diplomats In Retaliatory Move

Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement it had summoned United Kingdom ambassador Laurie Bristow to inform him that the 23 diplomats were now "persona non grata" and had a week to leave.

Moscow also chose to close the British Council in Russian Federation and to withdraw permission for Britain to open a general consulate in St Petersburg, the ministry said in a statement.

"But we will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies, and our values against an attack of this sort, which is an attack not only on the United Kingdom, but upon the global rules-based system, on which all countries, all countries including Russian Federation, depend for their safety and security". The pair remain critically ill in the hospital.

UK's Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday that Russia's dismissal of the British representatives "doesn't change the facts of the matter" of the poisoning.

Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the poisoning.

Experts say Russian Federation is the only-known maker of Novichok.

May said the expulsion of the 23 diplomats, identified as undeclared intelligence officers, was the biggest single expulsion for over 30 years and would degrade Russian intelligence capabilities in Britain for years to come.

Britain's ambassador to Russia says the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain was an attack on global values.

The Russian statement said the government could take further measures if Britain takes any more "unfriendly" moves toward Russia.

Tottenham beat Swansea, secure 'home' FA Cup SF at Wembley
Nordfeldt then kept his team in the contest with a superb save to turn away Erik Dier's goal-bound long-range effort. Spurs were 1-0 up in their FA Cup quarter-final when Heung-Min Son had a 23rd-minute goal ruled out for offside.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian news agencies as calling Johnson's statement a "shocking and inexcusable breach of diplomatic propriety".

May spoke after Moscow announced the expulsion of 23 British diplomats, in response to the U.K.'s decision to boot out the same number of Russian embassy staff.

"We have no disagreement with the people of Russia and we continue to believe it is not in our national interest to break off all dialogue between our countries but the onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions".

"We have said on different levels and occasions that Russian Federation has nothing to do with this story", he said. Officers also are trawling through some 4,000 hours of CCTV footage, he said.

Meanwhile, U.K. police have also opened a murder investigation in the death of another Russian exile living in Britain. British police said Friday that he died from compression to the neck and opened a murder investigation. There's no evidence at this stage that his death and the attack on the Skripals are linked, it said.

Seeking re-election this weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused by Britain of ordering the nerve agent attack on a ex-Russian spy on United Kingdom soil. She said Britain is taking a tough line because of frustration at recent advances of Russian-backed Syrian government forces against Western-backed rebels.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed a senior Australian official met with Russian Foreign Ministerial officials during a visit to Moscow, and highlighted the concerns of the highest level of the Australian Government.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied that Russia or the Soviet Union had ever developed Novichok, the class of nerve agent that Britain says was used to poison the Skripals. He was granted refuge in the UK after a high-profile spy exchange between the United States and Russian Federation in 2010.

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