Britain expels 23 Russian diplomats over spy spat

Vladimir Putin- File

The Prime Minister has been boosted by worldwide support over Britain's response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack. Russian Foreign Ministry informed in its announcement.

In a joint statement with the leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom on Thursday, the U.S. blamed Moscow for a brazen nerve agent attack on a Russian double agent and his daughter on British soil on March 4.

In London, opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, struck a starkly different tone to that of the British government by warning against rushing into a new Cold War before full evidence of Moscow's culpability was proven.

Moscow has denied responsibility for Skripal's poisoning.

She said Britain would revoke an invitation to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to visit the country and suspend all planned high-level bilateral contacts between London and Moscow. There is no alternative conclusion, other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr. Skripal and his daughter, and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury, including Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.

Prime Minister Theresa May demanded answers from Moscow, asking them explain how the agent came to be used in an attempted murder in the UK.

British investigators are working on the theory that an item of clothing or cosmetics or a gift in the luggage of Skripal's daughter was impregnated with the toxin, and then opened in Skripal's house in Salisbury, the Daily Telegraph said.

The confrontation escalated after Theresa May accused Moscow on Wednesday of an "unlawful use of force" involving a weapons-grade nerve agent and ordered out the largest number of Russian diplomats from London in 30 years.

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"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.

He warned Mrs May not to "rush way ahead of the evidence" - highlighting the way global crises such as the Iraq War had seen "clear thinking" overwhelmed by "emotion and hasty judgments".

The Kremlin, who have also described the UK's accusations as "insane", said the council "expressed grave concern over the destructive and provocative position of the British side".

But he added: "Measures to tackle the oligarchs and their loot would have a far greater impact on Russia's elite than limited tit-for-tat expulsions". She had asked Moscow to explain whether it was responsible for the attack or had lost control of stocks of the highly unsafe substance.

Amid calls from British politicians across the spectrum to take further action against Russia, former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Roderic Lyne, told the BBC that Britain should avoid getting dragged into a prolonged show down with Russia. "It is not clear to me that London's response will hit the Kremlin where it hurts".

"Flawed intelligence and dodgy dossiers led to the calamity of the Iraq invasion".

"This is not the first time, it needs to be called out - no ifs and no buts - and we need strong action as set out by the Prime Minister on Wednesday". "Around 400 witnesses have already given statements, with hundreds more to be taken in the coming days", Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.

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