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Russian Federation expels western diplomats over ex-spy dispute

30 March 2018

In a statement published on its official website, the Foreign Ministry said the reduction in numbers "must be done within a month".

British Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow leaves the Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow, Russia March 30, 2018.

On Thursday, Russia declared personae non-gratae 58 U.S. embassy staffers and two consulate general staffers in Yekaterinburg.

The statement also noted that the Russian diplomats are "literally attacked" by the intelligence agencies' proposals.

The United States and a raft of Western countries are expelling more than 100 Russian diplomats and Moscow has said its own retaliatory measures will precisely mirror the actions taken against it.

Britain and Russian Federation have already expelled 23 of each other's diplomats over the first known use of a military-grade nerve agent on European soil since the Second World War, but Laurie Bristow, Britain's Ambassador, was summoned again on Friday.

They were presented with notes of protest and informed that Russian side was also expelling the same number of diplomats from their countries.

Russian Federation also reserves the right to respond to Belgium, Hungary, Georgia and Montenegro which chose to join the orchestrated action in the last moment, it added.

Moscow said on Thursday it was expelling 60 USA diplomats and would eject scores from other countries that had joined London and Washington in censuring Moscow over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The expulsions were announced as UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that Moscow was "highly likely" behind the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Sergei Skripal, 66, a double agent who was swapped in a spy exchange deal in 2010 and went to live in England, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, were found unconscious on a public bench in a shopping centre in Salisbury on March 4.

Skripal was granted refuge in the United Kingdom following a 2010 spy exchange between the US and Russian Federation.

Russian Federation expels western diplomats over ex-spy dispute