After Moscow snubbed British PM Theresa May’s call to explain its role in the mysterious poisoning of a former spy in Salisbury, the UK has decided to expel 23 Russian diplomats.
Identifying them as “undeclared intelligence officers,” May has given them a week to leave.
However, Russia has denied any involvement in the attempted murder of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal on March 4.
Among other measures taken to send a “clear message” to Russia include:
*Severe checking on private flights, customs and freight
*Freezing Russian state assets that might threaten the life or property of UK nationals
*British Royal Family and ministers boycotting this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia
*Suspending all bi-lateral contacts between the two nations including revoking an invitation to Russian foreign minister
Describing Moscow’s silence on how the nerve agent “Novichok” was used in the British territory, May said Russia’s reply was full of “sarcasm, contempt and defiance,” reported the BBC.
Weighing in on the non-cooperation, the British PM said there was “no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable” for poisoning Skripal and his daughter with “Novichok.”
ReactionHow did Russia respond to the allegations?
Rubbishing claims of involvement, Russia said, “It happened on British territory and in no way is a question for the Russian federation or its leadership.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called PM May’s statement “a circus show.”
She said, “It’s another information and political campaign based on provocation.”
President Vladimir Putin urged, “Get to the bottom of things there, then we’ll discuss this.”
Skripal and his daughter still in critical condition
Meanwhile, Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were mysteriously found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury 10 days ago, are still critically ill. Det. Sgt. Nick Bailey, the officer who first reached the crime scene, is in a serious but stable condition, reported the BBC.