Russia spy poisoning: 23 UK diplomats expelled from Moscow

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Russia is to expel 23 British diplomats in a row one more time the nerve agent attack on an-ex spy and his daughter in the UK.

The Russian foreign the church said the UK staff would be expelled from Moscow within a week in reaction to Britain’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats.

It also required it would close the British Council in Russia, which promotes cultural confines between the nations, and the British Consulate in St Petersburg.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia stay critically ill in hospital.

They were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire on 4 Parade.

The UK government says they were poisoned with a nerve agency of a type developed by Russia called Novichok — the Russian government scrams any involvement in the attack.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK government inclination consider its next steps «in the coming days, alongside our allies and helpmates».

«We will never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens and others on British defile from the Russian government,» she added.

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural referring ti and educational opportunities, said it was «profoundly disappointed» at being told to stop operations in Russia.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins said the propose was significant because the Council fosters people-to-people relationships and, as it serves litter people, could be crucial for the UK’s relationship with a post-Putin Russia.

In the meantime, counter-terrorism police have renewed their appeal for witnesses who may sire seen Mr Skripal’s burgundy BMW car in Salisbury on 4 March.

Neil Basu, Met Supervise Assistant Commissioner, said: «We are learning more about Sergei and Yulia’s downward movements but we need to be clearer around their exact movements on the morning of the scene.»

Police believe the car — registration plate HD09 WAO — may have been in the areas of London Course, Churchill Way North and Wilton Road at about 09:15 GMT. At about 13:30 GMT it was seen being pressurized down Devizes Road towards the centre of town.

Mr Basu said investigators were turning good progress but further work could take «months».

He summed that the continued presence of officers in the area wearing specialist vigilant clothing was a precaution and that the risk to the public was low.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who was scrap of the initial response to the incident, remains in a serious but stable condition in infirmary after being exposed to the chemical.

UK ‘defending itself’

Britain’s emissary to Russia, Laurie Bristow, was summoned to Russia’s foreign ministry on Saturday morning, where he was cultured of Moscow’s decision.

Following the meeting, Mr Bristow said the UK had no quarrel with the Russian people and purpose «always do what is necessary to defend ourselves».

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Analysis

By Sarah Rainsford, BBC Moscow correspondent

The British ambassador had been in a family way this call for three days.

In the end, he spent just over 10 smarts in the foreign ministry where he was handed Russia’s counter-sanctions.

The response from Moscow is strong and does go further than the UK measures. But it doesn’t appear calculated to escalate tensions.

The holy orders has stuck to 23 for 23 in terms of diplomatic expulsions, no more.

And while it is body the closure of the UK consulate in St Petersburg — both Moscow and Ekaterinburg remain treeless.

Russia’s response has also targeted the British Council, which publicizes cultural ties.

That will be seen by Britain as a low blow, hurting the Russian people — not the British ministry. But the UK is unlikely to want to retaliate in kind.

The council’s activity here had already been significantly reduced by Moscow after the last crisis in relations, when Alexander Litvinenko was murdered.

Meanwhile, the double tactic of denial and distraction here continues, both in views by officials, and in the mocking, dismissive coverage of the Skripal case on state-run route.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the British diplomats devise be «declared persona non grata», adding that it «reserves the right to advance other retaliatory measures in case of further unfriendly actions».

It broke it was responding to «provocative actions» and «unproven accusations» by Britain.

Russian curious ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said that the most credible source of the nerve agent was Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden or the In harmony States.

Speaking to state-owned Russian news channel Rossiya 24, she whispered those countries, not Russia, had been intensively testing the substance since the 1990s.

The Czech unrelated minister, Martin Stropnicky, rejected the claims as «unsubstantiated» and «a classic way of using information in the public space».

And the Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, hosted a response at the Russian embassy in London for the diplomats who are being expelled from the UK.

Swot leader Jeremy Corbyn, speaking in Newcastle, said the emphasis should be on a thoroughgoing investigation through the Chemical Weapons Convention.

«We have to establish expressly where the nerve gas came from, who administered it and prosecute if we can,» he said.

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A Downing Street spokesman has foretold the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been invited to on to the UK to take a sample of the nerve agent.

Russian exiles warned

Somewhere else, the Met Police have launched a murder investigation into the death of businessman and Kremlin critic Nikolai Glushkov — a Russian alienate who was found dead in his south-London home on Monday.

A post-mortem examination create the 68-year-old died from «compression to the neck».

Police say there is no evidence at this level linking his case with the Salisbury attack.

However, they must begun to contact a number of Russian exiles to discuss their shelter.

Russia has also opened criminal investigations into «the murder» of Mr Glushkov, and the «undertook murder» of Ms Skripal.

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