Russian Federation spy poisoning: 23 United Kingdom diplomats expelled from Moscow

Lawrence Kim
March 17, 2018

Meanwhile new tensions have surfaced over the death this week of a London-based Russian businessman, Nikolai Glushkov.

The announcement is the latest development in an ongoing global saga that began on March 4, when Sergei Skripal, a former Soviet and Russian spy, was found unconscious on a bench next to his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.

Skripal, a former colonel in the GRU who betrayed dozens of Russian agents to British intelligence, and his daughter have been critically ill since March 4, when they were found unconscious on a bench.

The pledge comes as 23 British diplomats based in Russia begin packing their bags as they are expelled from the country in retaliation for Russian representatives being told to leave the UK.

The British government said they were poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation.

Moscow rejects the claims as "provocation".

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "We are learning more about Sergei and Yulia's movements but we need to be clearer around their exact movements on the morning of the incident". France and Germany make similar statements the following day. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the British accusations as "absolutely rude, unsubstantiated and baseless".

The source of the nerve agent - which Britain says is Soviet-made Novichok - is unclear, as is the way it was administered.

"We will never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens and others on British soil from the Russian Government", British Prime Minister Theresa May said after Russia announced to expel 23 British diplomats on Saturday. That included expelling Russian diplomats, suspending high-level contacts with the Kremlin, stepping up security checks at borders, and having top officials boycott the World Cup in Russia this summer.

The relationship between London and Moscow has crashed to a post-Cold War low over the attack involving a military-grade nerve agent on English soil.

The 29-member North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance expresses solidarity with Britain over what it calls the first offensive use of a nerve agent on the military alliance's territory since World War II.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Friday that it was overwhelmingly likely that Russian President Vladimir Putin himself had made the decision to use the nerve toxin on United Kingdom soil.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said statements by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tying Putin to the attack were "shocking and unforgivable".

Russian Federation opens a probe into the "attempted premeditated murder" of Yulia Skripal. The UK also said it would crack down on Russian oligarchs who stash money in London real estate and banks.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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