United Kingdom expels Russian diplomats, suspends high-level contact with Moscow over spy poisoning


The announcement followed on the heels of Britain's order last week for 23 Russian diplomats to leave the United Kingdom because Russia was not cooperating in the case of the Skripals, both found March 4 poisoned by a nerve agent that British officials say was developed in Russia.

The diplomatic standoff started with the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England on March 4.

In a rare joint statement, May and U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said "there is no plausible alternative explanation" to Russian responsibility for the poisoning.

And the ministry had also warned Britain that "if further unfriendly actions are taken towards Russia, the Russian side retains the right to take other answering measures".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Saturday that her government will consider its next steps against Moscow after consulting with Britain's allies over the next few days. "We can be reassured by the strong support we have received from our friends and allies around the world", May said at the Conservative Party's spring forum in London.

The British ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow was this morning summoned to the Kremlin for the second time this week to be told of the retaliatory action taken by Russian authorities.

Moscow and London have both ordered diplomats to be expelled in the deepening dispute.

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The British National Security Council will meet early this week to consider the next steps after yesterday's expulsion announcement.

Russian Federation has denied it was responsible for the poisoning.

Russian Federation denies being the source of the nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals and has demanded Britain share samples collected by investigators.

Britain has escalated a war of words with Russian Federation over the incident in recent days.

On Friday, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the attack on Skripal.

"We have no disagreement with the people of Russia and we continue to believe it is not in our national interest to break off all dialogue between our countries but the onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions and to comply with their global obligations".