United Kingdom to Expel 23 Russian Diplomats in Retaliation for Nerve Agent Attack


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reacts during the global meeting on Syria in Astana, Kazakhstan March 16, 2018.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Reuters that Moscow would take reciprocal action to expel British diplomats from the country.

President Trump voiced his support for Britain, telling reporters outside the White House on Tuesday that, "it sounds to me that it would be Russian Federation based on all the evidence they have".

Lavrov said that Russian Federation "has stopped paying attention" to allegations against them, suggesting it is a violation of global law that May is now refusing to work with Russian Federation.

A tent covers the park bench where former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found after they were poisoned, in Salisbury, Britain.

British Prime Minister Theresa May Had Earlier Said That "It is highly likely that Russian Federation is involved" in the poisoning spy incident. There has been much talk in Moscow of imminent and decisive responses, but so far nothing of substance has taken place.

While the statement signals a more coordinated response from Britain's closest allies, it lacked any details about specific measures the West would take if Russian Federation failed to comply.

Skripal, who was turned by Britain's MI6 agency while serving in Spain, was arrested in Moscow in 2004 and convicted in 2006 of treason. "Those [American] politicians are playing with fire", he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with regional female entrepreneurs ahead of the upcoming International Women's Day during his visit to the Samara bakery and confectionery factory in Samara, Russia March 7, 2018.

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Russia has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack and promised retaliatory measures against May's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom. "There are other elements to Britain's reaction and you need to give a "mirror" response to that as well". "They have treated the use of a military-grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance". Most statements have fallen somewhere in between the two extremes.

He said Britain is making "wholesale accusations against Russia" before the inquiry into the spy poisoning is complete and "without proof".

Lavrov also lashed out at Britain for not providing consular access to Yulia.

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

Johnson also said he had been heartened by strong expressions of support from the United States and other allies - although it remains unclear whether there will be a coordinated global response to the Novichok attack.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, President Donald Trump said that he had spoken with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, and "it certainly looks like the Russians were behind it".

At home, the British government has been under pressure from lawmakers and media to show it is getting tough on Russian Federation, with some experts saying that despite the rhetoric the response did not go far enough to bother Putin.

"We will freeze Russian state assets wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of United Kingdom nationals or residents", May said, without giving details.