Russian spy: UK to expel 23 Russian diplomats

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The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow spurned to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy in Salisbury, the PM voices.

Theresa May said the diplomats, who have a week to leave, were associated as “undeclared intelligence officers”.

She also revoked an invitation to Russia’s alien minister, and said the Royal Family would not attend the Fifa Men Cup in Russia later this year.

Russia denies attempted murder and means it will respond appropriately.

Its foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova asserted Moscow would take “fitting… symmetrical measures that are in toto appropriate for the situation”.

In a live show on state TV, she said the UK has no idea hither professionalism or diplomacy, and were “fully-fledged liars”.

The mass expulsion is the largest since 31 were on the fritzed out in 1985 after double agent Oleg Gordievsky defected.

Quondam spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, 33, corpse critically ill in hospital after being found slumped on a bench on 4 Parade.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey fell ill while responding to the incident, and is in a serious but durable condition, but is thought to be improving.

Moscow refused to meet Mrs May’s midnight deadline to co-operate in the covering, prompting Mrs May to announce a series of measures intended to send a “clear communication” to Russia.

These include:

  • Expelling 23 diplomats
  • Increasing impediments on private flights, customs and freight
  • Freezing Russian state assets where there is documentation they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents
  • Reverends and the Royal Family boycotting the Fifa World Cup in Russia later this year
  • Hanging all planned high-level bilateral contacts between the UK and Russia
  • Plans to weigh new laws to increase defences against “hostile state activity”

Mrs May proclaimed MPs that Russia had provided “no explanation” as to how the nerve agent came to be adapted to in the UK, describing Moscow’s response as one of “sarcasm, contempt and defiance”.

The use of a Russian-made bravery agent on UK soil amounted to the “unlawful use of force”, she said.

The PM, who was earlier briefed by postpositive major intelligence chiefs in Downing Street, added there was “no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian structure was culpable” for the attack.

She said it was “tragic” that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “judge to act in this way”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was jeered by Conservative MPs as he interrogated Mrs May how she had responded to Russia’s request for a sample of the nerve agent so it could run its own try outs.

He condemned the Salisbury incident as a “dreadful, appalling act” and called for multilateral engagement in response, saying it was a matter of “huge regret” that the UK’s diplomatic network had been cut by 25% in the up to date five years.

The Foreign Office has updated its advice on travel to Russia, answer “heightened political tensions” mean Britons should “be aware of the admissibility opportunity of anti-British sentiment or harassment at this time”.

In a statement, the FA said it would enkindle closely with the UK government and authorities regarding its participation in the World Cup in June.

Fifa has professed it was committed to a “successful” 2018 World Cup, adding it was down to individual woods whether they decided to attend.

  • The spy at centre of poison mystery
  • Russia retaliation could pain UK business

But France said it would wait for “definitive conclusions” rather than setting out its stance. Its government spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, said: “In a minute the elements are proven, then the time will come for decisions to be record.”

Meanwhile, the police and army have sealed off areas of the north Dorset burgh of Gillingham as part of the attempted murder investigation.

A wide cordon is in employment around a truck, thought to have recovered Mr Skripal’s car from Salisbury, in 20 miles from Gillingham.

About 180 troops demand been deployed to Salisbury to help remove vehicles and objects from stiff areas.

Zizzi restaurant and Bishop’s Mill pub, where the Skripals visited formerly falling ill, remain closed.

Police from 15 forces across England and Wales contain been sent to Wiltshire to support the investigation.

Russia’s foreign the pulpit said Mrs May’s statement was “an unprecedentedly crude provocation”.

It said it was “categorically not de rigueur and unworthy” that the UK government had “seriously aggravated” relations by announcing a “more often than not set of hostile measures”.

Earlier, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov suggested Moscow would co-operate if it received a formal request for clarification from the UK less than the Chemical Weapons Convention, which sets a 10-day time limit for a rejoinder.

Speaking ahead of the PM’s statement, a spokesman for Mr Putin said: “Moscow won’t assent to absolutely unfounded accusations against it, which are not substantiated by any evidence, and won’t acknowledge the language of ultimatum.”

Chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton Gordon has berated the BBC he believes the nerve agent was produced in Shikhany in central Russia – their a kind to Britain’s military research base, Porton Down.

He told the BBC it was a good location and if the Russians were serious about cooperating in any investigation, they should resign the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) access to the site.

The UK is to prcis the UN Security Council on the investigation at 19:00 GMT, and earlier met Nato’s North Atlantic Caucus.

At the meeting, Nato allies expressed “deep concern” at the use of a nerve substitute and said it was a “clear breach of international norms and agreements”.

‘Full unity’

Mrs May has welcomed support from allies including the US, Nato and the EU, and said Britain at ones desire be pushing for a “robust international response” at the UN Security Council later.

“This was not rightful an act of attempted murder in Salisbury – nor just an act against UK,” she said.

“It is an affront to the proscription on the use of chemical weapons.”

Most recently, Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki has condemned the “unprecedented erosion on the UK” and expressed “full solidarity” with the British people and government.

He bid on Russia to address the UK’s questions and co-operate with the OPCW.

Mr Skripal, a British denizen, came to the UK in 2010 as part of a “spy swap” after he had been convicted by Russia of keenness information to MI6.

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