Russia Expels 23 UK Diplomats In Retaliatory Move

Putin ordered'bomb threat plane to be downed in 2014

Russian Federation on Friday said that it will expel British diplomats and halt high-level meetings with the U.K. Russian Federation hasn't yes said who will be expelled, and when.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador, Laurie Bristow, to a meeting on Saturday morning in central Moscow at its Stalin-era headquarters during which he was informed of the retaliatory measures.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are in critical condition after being poisoned in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.

It also ordered the closure of the British Council, a public information and educational center, in Russian Federation, and halted the reopening of a British consulate in St. Petersburg.

"In light of Russia's previous behaviour, we anticipated a response of this kind and the National Security Council will meet early next week to consider next steps". Prime Minister Theresa May responded by expelling 23 Russian diplomats, severing high-level contacts with Moscow and vowing to take both open and covert actions against Russian dirty money and "hostile state activity".

In retaliation to Britain expelling 23 Russian diplomats from the UK, Russia expels 23 diplomats from Britain. British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking a global coalition of countries to punish Moscow, and the U.S., France and Germany have already lined up against Russian Federation over the Skripal attack. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said Russian Federation was "worried by this situation" and would work to express its position on the worldwide stage. "Any reference or mentioning of our president is nothing else but shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct".

While Britain has accused the Russian state of ordering the poisoning of the Skripals, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took it a step further Friday and said it's "overwhelmingly likely" that Putin himself ordered the attack.

"Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable", the statement said.

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Separately on Friday, police in London launched a murder investigation into the death this week of a Russian associate of late tycoon Boris Berezovsky, but said nothing at this stage suggested a link to the Skripal case.

He also said that only Russian Federation had the means and motive for carrying out the attack on Skripal.

The UK has asked the OPCW to verify that novichok was used in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.

A United Kingdom inquiry found that two Russian agents poisoned Litvinenko at a London hotel bar in 2006 by spiking his tea with highly radioactive polonium-210, and that Putin "probably approved" Litvinenko's killing.

In characteristic Russian style, of course, the Kremlin has fiercely refuted May's accusations.

A Russian lawmaker is warning Britain against escalating the crisis over the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

While Ryabkov said Moscow did not wish to sever all communications with Washington, he blamed the mounting tensions on "American political stubbornness", and warned that US lawmakers were "playing with fire by destroying Russian-American relationship because simultaneously they shake global stability".

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