Spy poisoning: Russia to expel 23 British diplomats

Forensic teams work at an address in Gillingham Dorset as they remove a recovery truck used following the Salisbury nerve agent attack

Spy poisoning: Russia to expel 23 British diplomats

The four-nation statement is the fruit of British efforts to enlist global support as it tries to hold Russia accountable for the March 4 attack that left the former Russian agent and his daughter in critical condition and a British police officer seriously ill.

The ministry also revoked its agreement on opening and operation of the UK Consulate General in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, according to the statement.

Russian Federation also said that it was withdrawing permission for Britain to operate its consulate in the North western city of Saint Petersburg, citing a "disparity" in the number of diplomatic missions held by the two countries.

A British policeman, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, was also poisoned as he went to assist the pair.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is among those who have linked the Skirpal case to that of Litvinenko, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After some initial hesitation and qualified support, the US administration got behind Britain at the UN Security Council; France and Germany have also supported the British position that Russian Federation was behind the attack.

The British Council's work in the arts involves the very best British and global artistic talent. The organization has been operating in Russian Federation since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. The British Council is a cultural institute with artistic, language and educational programs.

It said in a statement that the measure was "in response to the provocative actions of the British side and unsubstantiated accusations" against Russian Federation.

The National Security Council will meet early next week to consider the "next steps".

But Russia has dismissed the accusation and demanded to see samples of the nerve agent that was used.

The four allies said it was "an assault on United Kingdom sovereignty" and a breach of worldwide law that "threatens the security of us all".

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Still, tensions keep rising, and Britain keeps doubling down.

British officials have invested heavily in portraying the poisoning as a Russian plot, and have stuck to that despite unwillingness to present evidence backing up that claim.

"This happened in the UK but it could have happened anywhere, and we take a united stance against it".

The chemical used in the attack has been identified part of a group of nerve agents developed by Russian Federation known as Novichok, Mrs May said. "But the President has also shown that he's been extremely tough on Russian Federation throughout his administration".

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden on Saturday all rejected a suggestion by Zakharova that the nerve agent might have originated in their countries. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was criticised at home and overseas for saying that Russian Federation "should go away, it should shut up".

Moscow's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, dismissed the "bombastic remarks", suggesting Williamson "lacks education". They remain in critical condition in a hospital in Salisbury, southwestern England, after being found unconscious on March 4. It is still not clear how the Skripals came in contact with the nerve agent.

Nikolai Glushkov, 69, was found dead at his house in southwest London at about 10:46 p.m. on Monday.

Mr Johnson said: "Now is the moment for [President Vladimir] Putin to jam the lid down and send a signal to people: 'You do this, you're going to die'".

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing.

Lawless contributed from London.

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