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Russian Federation boots 23 United Kingdom diplomats in spy-poisoning tit-for-tat

19 March 2018

Chizhov pointed out that the United Kingdom chemical weapons research facility, Porton Down, is only eight miles (12 km) from Salisbury, where Sergei-a former Russian intelligence officer convicted in his home country of spying for Britain-and his daughter were found March 4.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Moscow would "certainly" expel some British diplomats in a tit-for-tat response.

The first use of a nerve agent on European soil since World War II is a direct challenge to the Western alliance, days before elections are nearly certain to give Vladimir Putin a fourth term as Russia's president.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday that Russia has been stockpiling the deadly nerve agent used to poison a Russian former double agent in England and has been investigating how such weapons can be used in assassinations.

The Russian Foreign Ministry declared on Saturday 23 employees of the UK Embassy in Moscow "personae non gratae" in response to the similar move made by London, the ministry said in a statement.

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"We will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort, which is an attack not only on the United Kingdom, but upon the global rules-based system on which all countries, including Russian Federation, depend for their safety and security", Bristow told reporters after being informed of the expulsions.

May said Britain would also clamp down on murky Russian money and strengthen the government's ability to impose sanctions on those who abuse human rights, though she gave few details.

Bristow told reporters afterwards that Britain had only expelled the Russian diplomats after Moscow had failed to explain how the nerve toxin had got to Salisbury.

"The onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions and to comply with their worldwide obligations".

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office said that Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull joined her in condemnation of the attack.

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While there is no evidence yet to link his killing to the Skripals' case, police said they were "keeping an open mind" because of Glushkov's nationality and his association with Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch and Putin critic who died under disputed circumstances in 2013.

Russian Federation denied involvement in his death. Both are in critical but stable condition in hospital. The closure of the consulate in St. Petersburg was not given a firm deadline, with the Foreign Ministry saying only that consulate employees will be given sufficient time to finish their work.

Today, it said that its actions was a response to Britain's "provocative actions" and "baseless accusations" over the incident in Salisbury.

The order to close the British Council ends almost 60 years of its work in Russian Federation as the UK's global organization for culture and education.

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Russian Federation boots 23 United Kingdom diplomats in spy-poisoning tit-for-tat