Russia has announced to expel 23 British diplomats in retaliation against the UK’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats.
Russian Foreign Ministry said the ambassador of the UK to Russia Laurie Bristow was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where he was handed a note stating that in response to the “provocative actions of the British side and groundless accusations against the Russian Federation with regard to the incident in Salisbury, UK.”
The Foreign Ministry said, “Twenty-three diplomatic staff of the UK Embassy in Moscow are declared persona non-grata and are to be expelled from Russia within a week.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry statement added: |Taking into account the disparity in the number of the two countries’ consular missions, the Russian Federation recalls its agreement on the opening and operation of the Consulate General of the United Kingdom in St Petersburg. Respective procedures will be followed in accordance with international legal practice.
“Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in the Russian Federation, its activities are terminated.”
Russian foreign ministry warned Britain that “in case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures.”
Meanwhile, the British Prime Minister Theresa May said the Russian expulsion of the British diplomats “doesn’t change the facts of the matter” of the poisoning.
“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,” May told in a Conservative Party meeting.
Earlier, the UK announced to expel 23 Russian diplomats over Moscow’s refusal to explain how Russian made nerve agent was used to kill the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The Russian diplomat expulsion marked to be the single biggest expulsion for the UK in more than thirty years.
The UK Prime Minister Theresa May told in the Parliament the deadline given to the Russian government for an explanation has ended.
“They have treated the use of a military-grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt, and defiance,” she said in parliament on Wednesday.
“There is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr. Skripal and his daughter and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury.”
Prime Minister Theresa May announced a range of actions against Russia for the alleged Skripal murder attempt.
The punitive measures against Russia include withdrawal of an invitation to Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, to visit the UK, the UK cabinet members, and royal family members will not the world this summer scheduled to be in Russia.