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Georgia expels Russian diplomat over spy poisoning

Georgia expels Russian diplomat over spy poisoning”

The Russian foreign ministry has accused Britain of breaking worldwide law by refusing to provide information on Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned along with her father, Sergei, a former spy, in Salisbury this month.

London has shared "unprecedented levels of intelligence with partners" since the attack, a senior government official said, culminating in the response from capitals around the world.

Montenegro also revoked its consent for Russia's honorary consul. Relations between Russia and Montenegro have been strained since October 2016, following an alleged Russian-backed plot to kill Montenegro's prime minister, overthrow the government and prevent the ex-Yugoslav republic joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Russia's foreign minister says Moscow will expel the same number of diplomats from the nations that have expelled Russian diplomats over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain. Latvia said it was ejecting one Russian diplomat.

More than 25 countries have announced plans to expel a total of more than 130 Russian diplomats in solidarity with the United Kingdom over what has been described as the first chemical weapons attack on European soil since the second world war.

She called it the "strongest signal to Russian Federation that it can not continue to flout worldwide law". The diplomats and their families were given seven days to leave the country.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign relations committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, was quoted as saying by the news agency Interfax, that "our opponents should have the opportunity to look themselves in the mirror in order to be horrified by the actions taken by their own side".

Sergei Skripal, 66, remains in a critical but stable condition, Salisbury District Hospital's board said. The two have been in a coma since then and British Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this week that they "may never fully recover".

London and its allies have blamed Moscow, citing the use of a Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok, Russia's record of targeting dissidents and its history of aggression in recent years, from Crimea to cyber-attacks.

The Russian embassy in Washington responded by asking its Twitter followers to vote on which USA consulate should be closed, listing those in Vladivostok, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg as options.

Salisbury NHS Trust, which oversees the hospital where the Skripals are being treated, said Thursday 33-year-old Yulia is "improving rapidly and is no longer in a critical condition".

Johnson told an audience of ambassadors in London that 27 countries had now moved to expel Russian diplomats over Moscow's suspected involvement, which it denies.

Since emerging from the world of high espionage and betrayal, Skripal lived modestly in the cathedral city of Salisbury and kept out of the spotlight until he was found unconscious on March 4.

Washington's expulsions represented the largest ever of Russian or Soviet agents and came after US President Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama expelled 35 in late 2016 over alleged election meddling.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday that Britain's allegation was a "swindle" and an "international provocation". The ministry condemned the poisoning, calling it a "serious challenge to common security".



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