Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Britain to expel 23 Russian diplomats, PM May says

Britain to expel 23 Russian diplomats, PM May says

Moscow responded to the ultimatum with scorn and sarcasm, ultimately blowing off May's demands.

The source of the nerve agent used - which Britain says is Soviet-made Novichok - is unclear. "And we're taking it very seriously, as, I think, are many others", Trump told reporters at the White House.

"It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it".

The next move could come from Moscow.

Russian Federation says it knows nothing about the poisoning and has repeatedly asked Britain to supply a sample of the nerve agent that was used against Skripal.

"By investigating this incident in a unilateral, nontransparent way, the British government is again seeking to launch a groundless anti-Russian campaign", it said.

Russia has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack and promised retaliatory measures against May's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom.

It had warned London it stood ready to take further measures in the event of more "unfriendly steps". He also cast doubt on the possibility that the nerve agent was sent through the mail or was placed in luggage that Skripal's daughter brought with her from Russian Federation to Britain.

Lavrov also lashed back at British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson for saying Russian Federation "should go away and shut up". "You got to keep your powder a little bit dry".

A police officer who then visited the Skripal residence was also later hospitalized for chemical poisoning.

Yulia Skripal arrives at Heathrow Airport from Russian Federation to visit her father in England.

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Officials and pundits in Moscow have issued a steady stream of denials and counterclaims, a tactic that has continued through Thursday.

Lavrov reiterated earlier comments that the allegations were "boorish and unfounded".

People walk past graffiti sprayed on the pavement near the entrance to the Russian embassy and ambassador's residence in London, Britain, March 15, 2018. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has vowed a response "very soon".

After Trump spoke with May on Tuesday, the White House said the president agreed with her that Russian Federation "must provide unambiguous answers regarding how this chemical weapon, developed in Russian Federation, came to be used in the U.K".

"This is the fact that Sergei Skripal is alive and his daughter is alive". Both are reported to be in comas.

More: Novichok: What is Russia's risky poison used in ex-spy Sergei Skripal's case?

"The credibility of this Council will not survive if we fail to hold Russian Federation accountable", she said.

The UK will also create a new chemical weapons "defence centre", Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said.

He said nerve agents like Novichok are usually highly unstable and degrade quickly in the presence of moisture, but that if the agent was sealed in a tight container "it ought to be able to hang around". But the alliance is engaged, Stoltenberg said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador, Laurie Bristow, to a meeting on Saturday morning in central Moscow at its Stalin-era headquarters during which he was informed of the measures.

Russia's United Nations envoy, Vissaly Nebenzia, accused Britain of attempting to tarnish Russian Federation with falsehoods, "irresponsible statements", and "threats to a sovereign state".

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