Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats over ex-spy poisoning accusations

Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats over ex-spy poisoning accusations

Earlier on Saturday Russia's foreign ministry summoned Britain's ambassador to the country, Laurie Bristow, for a meeting, as diplomatic relations continue to sour.

The British Council, whose activities in Russian Federation were suspended by the Kremlin on Saturday, is a registered charity that uses education and culture to spread British soft power internationally.

Moscow announced the measures on the eve of a presidential election which incumbent Vladimir Putin should comfortably win. The Skripals remain in critical condition.

"This crisis has arisen as a result of an appalling attack in the United Kingdom, the attempted murder of two people, using a chemical weapon developed in Russia and not declared by Russia at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, as Russia was and is obliged to do under the Chemical Weapons Convention", he added.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Saturday denied that Russia or the Soviet Union had ever developed the nerve agent Novichok that Britain said was used to poison the Skripals.

Other measures included closing the British Council and scrapping an agreement to reopen the British consulate in St Petersburg, while the country indicated it could take further action should there be what it called more "unfriendly" moves.

"We will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves", the ambassador told reporters.

"Those measures should sober British politicians up", Dzhabarov said, "primarily Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who dared to make an offensive statement regarding the head of a great state, virtually accusing him of ordering the poisoning of Skripal".

Russia's response does not change the fact that Moscow was in "flagrant breach of worldwide law" and the Chemical Weapons Convention, she said.

Russian Federation was "in flagrant breach of worldwide law", she told her Conservative Party's spring forum, adding that Britain "will consider our next steps in the coming days".

Britain, the United States, Germany and France have jointly called on Russia to explain the attack, while US President Donald Trump has said it looks as if the Russians were behind it.

Kejriwal's apology: No way for CM to behave, says Amarinder Singh
The AAP and the LIP had entered into an alliance six months before the Punjab Assembly polls held in February previous year . Nobody was consulted before he took this decision.

Russian Federation has said is open to cooperation with Britain, but has refused Britain's demands to explain how Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military, was used against the Skripals.

The closure of the offices, ordered by Russia's Foreign Ministry, followed the expulsion of Russian diplomats in Britain over the 2006 poisoning of ex-KGB operative Alexander Litvinenko in London.

Russian Federation has insisted it is ready to cooperate in investigating the attack in Salisbury if Britain reciprocates by sharing the evidence it holds.

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

"We are learning more about Sergei and Yulia's movements but we need to be clearer around their exact movements on the morning of the incident", said Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu.

In a dramatic twist Friday, the Metropolitan Police said that the death of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov, who was found dead Monday in his London home, was now being treated as murder.

Russian Federation has also said it is opening a murder probe after Glushkov was found dead at his London home. There's no evidence at this stage that his death and the attack on the Skripals are linked, it said.

Russian Federation has also opened criminal investigations into "the murder" of Mr Glushkov, and the "attempted murder" of Ms Skripal.

Russian Federation offered some cooperation to British authorities after the 2006 London murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko too.

"The onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions and to comply with their global obligations".

Like this: