Vladimir Putin wins Russian presidential election

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Russia responded in kind on Saturday, when the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Laurie Bristow, the British ambassador to Russia, to tell him that 23 diplomats have one week to leave Russia "in response to the provocative actions of the British side and unsubstantiated accusations", according to a statement.

The British government dismissed the ambassador's suggestion as "nonsense". The UK also said it would crack down on Russian oligarchs who stash money in London real estate and banks.

The election came amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West, with reports that Moscow was behind the nerve-agent poisoning this month of a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, in Britain and that its internet trolls had mounted an extensive campaign to undermine the 2016 United States presidential election.

Yevgeny Roizman, the mayor of Russia's fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg, told the Associated Press that local officials and state employees have all received orders "from higher up" to make sure the presidential vote turnout is over 60%.

Britain's Foreign Secretary says Russian Federation has been stockpiling the deadly nerve agent used to poison a former double agent in England.

"We will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort, which is an attack not only on the United Kingdom, but upon the global rules-based system on which all countries, including Russian Federation, depend for their safety and security", Bristow told reporters after being informed of the expulsions.

The foreign office said that Britain's National Security Council will meet to discuss further actions against Russian Federation.

She said efforts to disrupt the site occurred when voters in Russia's far east were already casting ballots, but they were deterred by Russian authorities.

Speaking on Russia-24 television, Zakharova said Britain's angry reaction is connected to the war in Syria.

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As U.S. authorities investigate alleged Russian interference in the country's 2016 presidential election, Moscow has warned of possible U.S. meddling in the Russian vote.

The British National Security Council will meet early next week to consider the next steps after Saturday's expulsion announcement. The organization has been operating in Russian Federation ever since the fall of the Soviet Union.

British police appealed Saturday for witnesses who can help investigators reconstruct the Skripals' movements in the crucial hours before they were found unconscious.

While Russia has vigorously denied involvement in the attack, Western powers see it as the latest sign of alleged Russian meddling overseas.

But Russian presidential contender Ksenia Sobchak, a former TV star who is the only candidate to openly criticize Putin, said blame did not lie entirely with Britain.

Meanwhile new tensions have surfaced over the death this week of a London-based Russian businessman, Nikolai Glushkov.

Russian Federation also suspects foul play in Glushkov's death and opened its own inquiry Friday.

He said it was "nonsense" to think that anyone in Russian Federation could have staged such an attack shortly before Sunday's presidential vote and before the World Cup that Russian Federation is set to host this summer.

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