Russia To Expel UK Diplomats As Crisis Over Nerve Toxin Attack Deepens

Russia To Expel UK Diplomats As Crisis Over Nerve Toxin Attack Deepens

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

He urged Russians to "use their right to choose the future for the great Russia that we all love".

Authorities in Russia are reportedly set to expel British diplomats in retaliation for UK's Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to kick out 23 Russian diplomats over the nerve-agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia.

"Have they started blaming Russian Federation yet for the Washington staff changes?" foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a text message sent to AFP.

In light of this, the United Kingdom leader stated that 23 Russian diplomats would be expelled and some other restrictive measures would be introduced.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Moscow will expel British diplomats from the country.

"We have never encountered this level of discussion on the global stage", Peskov told reporters, adding that he was surprised by London's reaction.

President Donald Trump has demanded Moscow "provide unambiguous answers" to explain what is believed to be the first nerve agent attack in Europe since World War II.

He also said 46 people had attended hospital with concerns that they had been affected since the incident, and that cordons around areas where traces of the nerve agent have been found - or could yet be found - may remain in place for months.

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Britain and its allies France, Germany and the United States have pointed the finger at Moscow over the nerve agent poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal, who remains in critical condition along with his daughter Yulia.

Russian Federation has dismissed the accusations as "fairy tales" and denied any involvement in the attack which landed the Skripals, along with a British police officer, in the hospital.

Britain on Wednesday called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the incident, winning the support of the United States as US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Russian Federation was "responsible for the attack".

"We are no less, and maybe even more than Britons interested in establishing the truth, in seeing the light shed on the Salisbury tragedy", said Shulgin, who is also Russia's Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). He also cast doubt on the possibilities that the nerve agent was sent through the mail or was placed in luggage that Skripal's daughter brought with her from Russian Federation to Britain.

One source said it was straightforward for the assassins to break into Miss Skripal's apartment in Moscow and plant the nerve agent in her luggage.

Vil Mirzayanov, who now lives in New Jersey, is quoted in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper as saying that he revealed the existence of Novichok because he thought it was necessary to deprive Russian Federation of its "deadly secret".

She said Britain should look at wider and bigger personal sanctions beyond those in the U.S. Magnitsky Act which imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials.

The war of words between Moscow and London continued Friday, with Lavrov lashing back at British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson for saying Russian Federation "should go away and shut up". Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a newspaper column that politicians must not "rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police".