Russian social media mocks the United Kingdom in wake of nerve-agent attack

19 March, 2018, 00:47 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Russia Expels 23 UK Diplomats In Retaliatory Move

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.

London's expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning amounted to a 40 per cent staff cut and would seriously affect the work of his embassy, Mr Yakovenko was also cited as saying.

Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, remain critically ill in hospital, after they were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Russian Federation also said it would close the British Council in Russian Federation, which promotes cultural ties between the nations, and the British Consulate in St Petersburg.

The British government has confirmed the expulsion of 23 of its diplomats from Russian Federation, and says the U.K. National Security Council will meet early next week to consider the next steps in its dispute with Moscow over the poisoning of a former spy.

The UK government says they were poisoned with a nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation called Novichok and PM Theresa May said she believed Moscow was "culpable".

"Our priority today is looking after our staff in Russian Federation and assisting those that will return to the United Kingdom", the Foreign Office said in its statement.

"A total of 23 diplomatic employees of the British Embassy in Moscow are declared personae non gratae and must leave within a week", said the statement, warning that Moscow retained the right to respond if Britain continues to take unfriendly steps against Russian Federation.

The Russian ministry also said it was ordering the British Council in Russia to cease operation and that a British consulate in St. Petersburg would not reopen.

Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the poisoning of the Skripals.

Leaders in the U.S., France and Germany joined Great Britain to sign a statement condemning Russia's use of the poison Thursday and called on Moscow to explain how it came to be used on British soil.

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".

Putin's spokesman denounced the claim as "shocking and inexcusable". "We continue to believe it is not in our national interest to break off all dialogue between our countries but the onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions". Peskov reiterated Russian denials of involvement in the attack that has left both Skripals in critical condition.

"It is our view that when political or diplomatic relations become hard, cultural relations and educational opportunities are vital to maintain on-going dialogue between people and institutions", it said.

The British government has imposed sanctions on Russian Federation and expelled 23 diplomats in retaliation for the attack.

"The origins of the nerve gas appear to be Russian, therefore the challenge has to be to the Russian government but also we and the Russian government are both signed up to an worldwide Chemical Weapons Convention". It has cast Britain as a post-colonial power unsettled by its impending exit from the European Union, and even suggested London fabricated the attack to whip up anti-Russian hysteria.

The first use of a nerve agent on European soil since World War II is a direct challenge to the Western alliance, days before elections are nearly certain to give Vladimir Putin a fourth term as Russia's president.

The British ambassador had been expecting this call for three days.

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