Russian Federation to expel United Kingdom diplomats as crisis over nerve toxin attack deepens

Mar 18, 2018, 01:37
Russian Federation to expel United Kingdom diplomats as crisis over nerve toxin attack deepens

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain's quarrel was not with the Russian people but with the Kremlin.

Relations between the two nations have deteriorated rapidly since the March 4 nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.

Moscow must "address all questions" in relation to the attack and provide "full and complete disclosure" over the production of the Soviet-era novichok nerve agent, they said.

As he left the meeting in Moscow, he told reporters that the United Kingdom would "always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort".

More than 40 members of the US Congress, both Republican and Democrat, expressed "full support" for Mrs May's expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, in a letter to the Prime Minister. Russian Federation insists it had no motive to target Skripal with what Britain says was a highly-potent Soviet-designed nerve agent called Novichok, in the first such attack in Europe since World War II.

Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement on Saturday that the country's National Security Council would meet early next week to consider its next steps.

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She said: "What could he say, the defence minister of a country that conceals information on the use of chemical-warfare agents on its soil?"

"This follows the action we have taken, alongside other measures, to dismantle the Russian espionage network operating in the United Kingdom as a effect of the attempted assassination of two people here in Britain using a nerve agent".

He said: "An interesting meeting in the Foreign Office".

Russia, which denies any involvement in the incident, condemned May's decision as unacceptable and vowed a swift response.

Police officers in forensics suits and protective masks work at the scene of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 13, 2018 in Salisbury, England.

"This despicable attack will have consequences and the President will act firmly with his partners", a presidential source said.

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"It's a great shame for the Russian people that they're closing the British Council which has done an terrible lot to educate Russian people in the English language and to help them get jobs and opportunities around the world", he told the BBC.

Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal "doesn't affect" the campaign for Sunday's election, which he called Russia's top priority.

Amid calls from British politicians across the spectrum to take further action against Russia, former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Roderic Lyne, told the BBC that Britain should avoid getting dragged into a prolonged show down with Russia.

Some Russia experts said the measures announced by May were unlikely to make Russian President Vladimir Putin's government change its behaviour.

A British policeman, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, was also poisoned as he went to assist the pair.

Russia's Investigative Committee said it had launched its own criminal proceedings in connection with the "attempted murder of a Russian citizen, Yulia Skripal" in Salisbury and the "murder" of Glushkov in London.

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But it's unclear what, if anything, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can do to put more pressure on Russian Federation.

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