Russian Federation retaliates in escalating feud over United Kingdom nerve agent attack

Russian Federation retaliates in escalating feud over United Kingdom nerve agent attack

On March 17, 2018, Russian Federation ordered the expulsion of 23 British Diplomats in counter-retaliation.

The decision comes after earlier in the day the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow.

Russian Federation will expel 23 British diplomats amid an escalating row over the nerve agent attack in Salisbury on a former spy and his daughter.

British Ambassador Laurie Bristow, who was summoned the Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Saturday to be informed of the moves, said the poisoning was an attack on "the global rules-based system on which all countries, including Russian Federation, depend for their safety and security".

The stand-off with Britain is being used by the Russian government and state media to boost support for President Vladimir Putin ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

The UK government was backed this week by allies France, Germany and the United States in its assessment that there was "no plausible alternative explanation" than that Russian Federation was responsible for the nerve agent attack.

In response, the United Kingdom set out a series of measures against Russia, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, identified as intelligence operatives, the biggest such expulsion for 30 years, and the suspension of all high-level contacts with Moscow.

Police officers at the scene of the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England.

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They were ordered to leave over the incident in Salisbury which the United Kingdom government blamed on Russian Federation.

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The crisis erupted after the Skripals were exposed to a Soviet-designed military grade nerve agent, leaving them in critical condition.

A plaque at the entrance of the British Council office in Moscow.

The ministry also revoked its agreement on opening and operation of the UK Consulate General in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, according to the statement. Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain will consider further retaliatory steps in the coming days alongside its allies.

"The investigation of these criminal cases will be held according to the requirements of the Russian legislation and the rules of worldwide law", Russian Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko said.

Russian Federation denied involvement in his death.

Speaking on Russia-24 television, Zakharova said Britain is taking a tough line against Russia because of frustration at recent advances of Russian-backed Syrian government forces against Western-backed rebels.

In a dramatic twist Friday, London's Metropolitan Police said that the death of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov, who was found dead Monday in his London home, was now being treated as murder. There's no evidence at this stage that his death and the attack on the Skripals are linked, it said.

Speaking as she met emergency services and residents of the Wiltshire city, Mrs May said: "We do hold Russian Federation culpable for this brazen and despicable act that has taken place on the streets of what is such a remarkable city".

Linking Putin to the attack on Sergei Skripal, who moved to Britain in a 2010 spy swap, "is nothing but shocking and unforgivable behavior from the point of view of diplomacy", Peskov told Russian news agencies.

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