Russia Orders the Expulsion of 23 British Diplomats in Retaliation

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at a youth forum

Russia Orders the Expulsion of 23 British Diplomats in Retaliation

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said the move was in retaliation for Britain's decision to expel the same number of Russian diplomats on Wednesday.

And it said it had halted the activities of the British Council, Britain's worldwide organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, across the country.

The closure of the offices, ordered by Russia's Foreign Ministry, followed the expulsion of Russian diplomats in Britain over the 2006 poisoning of ex-KGB operative Alexander Litvinenko in London.

As well, the ministry warned Britain that "if further unfriendly actions are taken towards Russia, the Russian side retains the right to take other answering measures".

"There is a certain British protocol in cases when the ambassador is summoned to the Foreign Ministry".

A woman casts her ballot during the presidential election at a polling station in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, Russia March 18, 2018.

Britain's foreign minister said Sunday that he has evidence Russia has been stockpiling a nerve agent in violation of worldwide law, after a Russian envoy suggested the toxin used to poison a former spy in England could have come from a United Kingdom lab.

Britian has accused Russian Federation of using a military grade, allegedly Soviet-produced nerve agent belonging to a strain known as Novichok against Sergei and Yulia, both of whom remained in a critical condition.

Russia Orders the Expulsion of 23 British Diplomats in Retaliation
Russia Orders the Expulsion of 23 British Diplomats in Retaliation

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. She said Britain is taking a tough line because of frustration at recent advances of Russian-backed Syrian government forces against Western-backed rebels.

"People ask me: Why us?"

Britain's National Security Council will meet early next week to consider the next steps, May said. Our priority today is looking after our staff in Russian Federation and assisting those that will return to the UK.

In a rare joint statement, the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and the United States on Thursday condemned the attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia - both in a critical but stable condition in hospital - as an "assault on UK sovereignty".

The source of the nerve agent - which Britain says is Soviet-made Novichok - is unclear, as is the way it was administered.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded saying Johnson's claims violated all rules of diplomatic protocol. "That is why we're at odds with Russian Federation".

"That fact demonstrates the most telling difference between Britain and Putin: we have friends across the world and he does not".

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police have launched a murder investigation into the death of businessman and Kremlin critic Nikolai Glushkov - a Russian exile who was found dead in his south-London home on Monday. One of the challenges in targeting Kremlin-linked investments in London is avoiding impacting assets of wealthy Russians who are not tied to Putin but who also may not be able to offer clear proof of the origins of their money.

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