Russia to expel 23 British diplomats: foreign ministry

March 17, 2018 1:32 pm
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The retaliatory measures were communicated to British ambassador Laurie Bristow, seen here leaving the foreign ministry in Moscow after another summoning earlier this week © AFP/File / Alexander NEMENOV

, Moscow, Russian Federation, Mar 17 – Russia announced Saturday it will expel 23 British diplomats and halt the activities of the British Council in response to London’s “provocative” measures over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter.

“Twenty three diplomatic staff at the British embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and to be expelled within a week,” the foreign ministry said in a statement after summoning the British ambassador Laurie Bristow.

It said the move was a response to Britain’s “provocative actions” and “baseless accusations over the incident in Salisbury on March 4,” referring to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with a nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, which Britain has blamed on Russia.

Russia also said it was halting the activities of the British Council, Britain’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, across the country.

“Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in Russia, its activity is halted,” the foreign ministry said.

And the ministry had also warned Britain that “if further unfriendly actions are taken towards Russia, the Russian side retains the right to take other answering measures.”

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