Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Latest news
Main » May responds to Russia's expulsion of United Kingdom diplomats

May responds to Russia's expulsion of United Kingdom diplomats

18 March 2018

Russian Federation will expel 23 British diplomats amid an escalating row over the nerve agent attack in Salisbury on a former spy and his daughter.

The Foreign Ministry said it would also order an end to all activities of the British Council, Britain's worldwide organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and warned London that "if any further unfriendly actions are taken against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take other retaliatory measures".

The Russian Foreign Ministry ordered the 23 diplomats to leave within a week.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador, Mr Laurie Bristow, to a meeting yesterday morning in central Moscow at its Stalin-era headquarters, during which he was informed of the retaliatory measures. As he left the meeting in Moscow, he told reporters that the United Kingdom would "always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort".

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".

Speaking at her party's spring forum in London, May said Britain would "consider our next steps in the coming days, alongside our allies and partners".

Russian Federation has complained that Britain has failed to provide any evidence of its involvement in the Salisbury attack and has said it is shocked and bemused by the allegations.

She tells British lawmakers that the military-grade nerve agent used was identified as belonging to a group of nerve agents known as Novichok and of a type developed by Russian Federation.

The Russian response was announced on the eve of a presidential election which is expected to hand Vladimir Putin a fourth term in the Kremlin. Putin's spokesman denounced the claim.

Britain said the assistance in that case was not enough, and in 2016, a judge-led inquiry concluded that Mr Putin had probably approved Litvinenko's murder, something Moscow denies.

The expulsion came after May Wednesday ordered out the largest number of Russian diplomats from London in 30 years and broke off all high-level contacts.

Meanwhile, counter-terrorism police renewed their appeal for sightings of Mr Skripal's burgundy BMW 320D saloon vehicle, registration HD09 WAO, in Salisbury on the morning of Sunday, March 4. Officers also are trawling through some 4,000 hours of CCTV footage, he said.

On Friday, police said they were treating the March 12 death of exiled businessman Nikolai Glushkov as murder after a post-mortem found he died from "compression to the neck".

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious in the southern British city of Salisbury. There's no evidence at this stage that his death and the attack on the Skripals are linked, it said.

There's also former reality-TV star Ksenia Sobchak, who's run a campaign critical of Putin while laboring under accusations from opposition leader Alexey Navalny that the Kremlin encouraged her candidacy to add sparkle to the lackluster contest.

Russian court officials at the time said he'd received at least $100,000 for his work for MI6, the British intelligence service. "Russian Federation should answer United Kingdom questions instead", she tweeted.

CNN's Matthew Chance reported from Moscow and Laura Smith-Spark wrote and reported from London.

May responds to Russia's expulsion of United Kingdom diplomats