Russia to expel UK diplomats as crisis over spy attack deepens

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation between Britain and Russia on Wednesday


Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, describing it as the most brazen such move since World War II.

Russia's envoy at the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog says Britain and the US both have access to the nerve agent used in the poisoning of the ex-spy in Britain.

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, "were targeted specifically". "He said Yulia was arriving on Saturday afternoon and had planned a two-week visit".

Asked by a Reuters reporter in the Kazakh capital if Russia planned to expel British diplomats from Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov smiled and said: "We will, of course".

Putin's spokesman branded the allegations "shocking and unforgivable" as Russian Federation continues to deny any involvement in the UK.

Asked by a journalist at a press conference if Russian Federation would kick out British diplomats, Lavrov said simply "of course, we will".

The allies said in a joint statement that Russia's failure to respond to Britain's "legitimate request" for an explanation "further underlines its responsibility".

Perhaps, the historian continues, the removal of Mr. Skripal represents only "a threat to all those Russian citizens who were involved in the long and complex operation of the FSB in interfering in the American elections which led to Donald Trump's victory".

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russia is guilty of attempted murder on British soil
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russia is guilty of attempted murder on British soil

However, the Kremlin denounced Johnson's claim that Putin ordered the attack. And because May delivered the British response, Putin will want to deliver Russia's. A report Friday in the Telegraph says it was put in the suitcase of Skripal's daughter before she left Russian Federation for Britain to see her father.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it is overwhelmingly likely it was Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to direct the nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the claim was made with no evidence and is a continuation of the Anti-Russia sentiment being fired up by Western Media. He said Russia's recent provocations need a tough response, including action against Russian oligarchs with questionable ties who have used London as a safe haven.

The measures Great Britain has taken against Russian Federation are a violation of worldwide law and a breach of common sense, he Kremlin spokesman added. They were found unconscious on a bench and remain critically ill in hospital. At a positive level, Russian Federation has consistently said they would like to work with the west and the United Kingdom on things like Islamic terrorism. He accused Russian Federation of "ripping up the global rulebook" and "attempting to "subvert, undermine and influence" countries around the world".

New Zealand first started negotiating a deal with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2010 in hopes of getting better access for butter and beef exports.

While many British politicians have backed the government in blaming Moscow for the nerve agent attack, the U.K.'s main opposition leader has cautioned against a rush to judgment.

Meanwhile, British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned against rushing into a new Cold War with Russian Federation before full evidence of Moscow's culpability is proven.

Lavrov was speaking in the Kazakh capital Astana following talks on Syria with the foreign ministers of Iran and Turkey.

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