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Russian spy: UK to expel 23 Russian diplomats

Sergei Skripal and his daughter YuliaPicture copyright
EPA/ Yulia Skripal/Fb

Picture caption

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, are in a important situation in hospital

The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to elucidate how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy in Salisbury, the PM says.

Theresa Might mentioned the diplomats, who’ve per week to go away, had been recognized as “undeclared intelligence officers”.

She additionally revoked an invite to Russia’s overseas minister, and mentioned the Royal Household wouldn’t attend the Fifa World Cup later this yr.

Russia denies being concerned within the tried homicide of Sergei Skripal.

Former spy Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, 33, stay critically in poor health in hospital after being discovered slumped on a bench on four March.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey additionally fell in poor health responding to the incident, and is in a severe however steady situation, however is considered bettering.

Moscow refused to satisfy Mrs Might’s midnight deadline to co-operate within the case, prompting Mrs Might to announce a sequence of measures supposed to ship a “clear message” to Russia.

Amongst them are:

  • The expulsion of 23 diplomats – who’ve one week to go away
  • Elevated checks on non-public flights, customs and freight
  • The freezing of Russian state property the place there may be proof they might be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents
  • Ministers and Royal Household to boycott the Fifa World Cup in Russia later this yr
  • The suspension of all deliberate excessive stage bi-lateral contacts between the UK and Russia

Mrs Might informed MPs that Russia had supplied “no clarification” as to how the nerve agent got here for use within the UK, describing Moscow’s response as considered one of “sarcasm, contempt and defiance”.

The PM, who was earlier briefed by senior intelligence chiefs in Downing Avenue, added there was “no various conclusion aside from that the Russian state was culpable” for the tried homicide of Mr Skripal and his daughter.

She mentioned it was “tragic” that Russian President Putin had “chosen to behave on this method”.

The Russian Embassy mentioned the expulsion of 23 diplomats was “unacceptable, unjustified and short-sighted”.

Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Britain of “taking part in politics” and ignoring a world settlement on chemical weapons.

He mentioned Moscow would co-operate if it acquired a proper request for clarification from the UK beneath the Chemical Weapons Convention, which units a 10-day time restrict for a response.

The UK is to temporary the UN Safety Council on the investigation at 19:00 GMT, and earlier met Nato’s North Atlantic Council.

On the assembly, Nato allies expressed “deep concern” at the usage of a nerve agent and mentioned it was a “clear breach of worldwide norms and agreements”.

Yasir Ali
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