Russian Federation to expel 23 United Kingdom diplomats

Ofcom has announced it is reviewing Russian broadcaster RT's broadcasting licence
Ofcom has announced it is reviewing Russian broadcaster RT's broadcasting licence

18 March, 2018

Haley said the Russians have recently complained about being criticized too much, suggesting the criticism would cease if the Russians didn't use chemical weapons to assassinate their enemies or gave aid to Assad in his war against his own people. She also broke off all high-level contacts over the chemical attack that poisoned former Kremlin double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury on 4 March.

"They have treated the use of a military grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance".

The move mirrors the United Kingdom government's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom, blaming the country for authorising the use of a toxic nerve agent against the Skripals in Salisbury.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday Moscow had already decided on retaliatory measures, which she said Britain would be informed of in the near future.

At U.N. headquarters, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was not in a position to attribute responsibility for the attack, but "he strongly condemns the use of any nerve agent or chemical weapons and hopes that the incident will be thoroughly investigated".

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

Critics of the British government have long claimed that the reluctant to act against Russia because London's property market and financial sector are magnets for billions in Russian money.

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Meanwhile, counter-terrorism police have renewed their appeal for witnesses who may have seen Mr Skripal's burgundy BMW auto in Salisbury on 4 March.

Thursday saw an exchange of openly insulting language between British and Russian ministers.

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. May said Russia had provided no explanation, and "there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr. Skripal and his daughter".

On Friday, London's Metropolitan Police said a Russian exile opposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin who was found dead in London was murdered.

US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron backed the United Kingdom in a joint statement with May on Thursday and said there's "no plausible alternative explanation" to Russian responsibility. European Council President Donald Tusk said Wednesday that the attack was "most likely" inspired by Moscow and announced he would put the issue on the agenda at an EU leaders' summit next week.

He declined to comment on reports in the Western media on the possibility of invoking NATO's Article 5 principle of common defence, saying Moscow hopes other countries would see there was no evidence to blame Russian Federation for the poisoning attack.

A British policeman was also poisoned when he went to help them and remains in a serious but stable condition.

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