Russia will expel 23 British diplomats as relations worsen over nerve agent attack

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Russia has decided to expel 23 British diplomats who must leave Moscow within a week, its foreign ministry said on Saturday, after a meeting with Britain`s ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow.
In retaliation for British Prime Minister Theresa May`s decision to kick out 23 Russians, Moscow has also decided to close the British Council in Russia and to withdraw permission for Britain to open a general consulate in St Petersburg, the ministry said in a statement.
It added that it has the right to take other "responsive measures", if there are further hostile steps from London.
After the first known offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War Two, Britain has pointed the finger at Russia`s president Vladimir Putin, and on Thursday May gave the 23 Russians — who she said were spies working under diplomatic cover at the embassy in London — a week to leave.
Moscow has denied any involvement in the attempted murder of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
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.



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