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Russia expels 23 British diplomats as crisis over nerve toxin attack deepens

Russia expels 23 British diplomats as crisis over nerve toxin attack deepens”

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The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it is also ordering the closure of the British Council in Russia and ending an agreement to reopen the British consulate in St. Petersburg. Russian Federation also revoked permission for the United Kingdom to open a general consulate in St. Petersburg, and the British Council, a cultural and educational organization, has been ordered to stop its activities in the country.

The Russian statement said the government could take further measures if Britain makes any more "unfriendly" moves.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador, Laurie Bristow, to a meeting on Saturday morning in central Moscow at its headquarters during which he was informed of the retaliatory measures.

A Russian lawmaker blamed Britain Saturday for the escalating tensions. Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain will consider next steps in the coming days alongside its allies.

Russian Federation has denied the U.K.'s allegations, accusing Britain of using the incident in a campaign to smear Moscow.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Labour conference that "Russian authorities must be held to account on the basis of the evidence" and called for Britain to "stop serving Russian crony capitalism".

Britain says the nerve agent could only have come from a government source. He did not offer evidence for that assertion.

United Kingdom officials have said a nerve agent from Russia's so-called Novichok program was used to target Skripal.

A Russian scientist disclosed details of a secret program to manufacture the military-grade nerve agents in the 1990s, and later published the formula. The organization has been operating in Russian Federation ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russian officials had previously said that Russia had destroyed the Novichok weapons when it had dismantled its chemical arsenal, which was completed previous year.

Mr 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.

"This is really absolutely symbolic and typical of a Russian Federation that has used lying and propaganda as a means of warfare and is now repeating its style", Conservative party Member of Parliament Tom Tugendhat said on BBC Radio 4.

March 4, 2018 Emergency services are informed by a passer-by concerned about a man and a woman in Salisbury city center.

Britain's foreign minister, Boris Johnson also claimed that it is "highly likely" that Putin himself ordered the nerve-agent attack on the spy.

A British policeman was also poisoned when he went to help them and remains in a serious but stable condition. A British public inquiry found Putin had "probably" ordered that assassination.

Escalating a crisis in relations, Russian Federation said it was also shutting down the activities of the British Council, which fosters cultural links between the two countries, and Britain's consulate-general in St. Petersburg. Nikolai Glushkov was found dead at his home this week.

As the fallout from the poisoning unravels in the global arena, British police are continuing their investigation into the poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia. And naturally Johnson demonstrated his outrage at Russia's politics.

Ms Bishop said Australia supports a thorough investigation into the poisoning of the Skripals. Detectives are keeping an "open mind" about the death, police said.



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