UK Expels 23 Russian Diplomats, Freezes Russian Assets, Suspends High-Level Contacts, Russia Promises ResponseReader03/14/2018 (Wed) 17:51:05 Id: a37ba1No.7274del
The UK was braced for a showdown with Russia on Wednesday after a midnight deadline set by Prime Minister Theresa May expired without an explanation from Moscow about how a Soviet-era nerve toxin was used to strike down a former Russian double agent.
Russia, which denied any involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter with Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military, said it was not responding to May’s ultimatum until it received samples of the nerve agent, in effect challenging Britain to show what sanctions it would impose against Russian interests.
“Moscow had nothing to do with what happened in Britain. It will not accept any totally unfounded accusations directed against it and will also not accept the language of ultimatums,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday according to Reuters. He added, however, that Russia remained open to cooperating with Britain in investigating the poisoning, blaming the British authorities for refusing to share information.
Theresa May announced that Britain will expel 23 Russian diplomats who are "undeclared intelligence officers", i.e., spies. The retaliation comes as part of a range of measures in response to the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal.
Speaking to parliament, Theresa May said the Russian state was culpable in the nerve agent attack in Salisbury on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and is the reason for the expulsion of 23 diplomats: "All who been identified as undeclared intelligence officers. They have just one week to leave," she said.
UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats over nerve agent poisoning #Salisbury pic.twitter.com/1geAdkrZ58
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 14, 2018
"This will be the single biggest expulsion for over 30 years and it will reflect the fact that this is not the first time the Russian state has acted against our country" she added.