Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Russian Federation retaliates: United Kingdom diplomats expelled

"Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin, and with this decision, and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the United Kingdom, on the streets of Europe, for the first time since the Second World War", he said.

He urged Russians to "use their right to choose the future for the great Russia that we all love".

Russia is set to expel British diplomats in retaliation for Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to kick out 23 Russians as relations with London crashed to a post-Cold War low over an attack involving a military-grade nerve agent on English soil.

Moscow has denied any involvement in the attempted murder of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

His comments were met with a scathing rebuke from Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said: "We have said on different levels and occasions that Russian Federation has nothing to do with this story".

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian news agencies as calling Johnson's statement a "shocking and inexcusable breach of diplomatic propriety".

Britain has expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended high-level contacts with Moscow due to the incident.

Geopolitical tensions are mounting since the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury earlier this month, in what Western powers see as the latest sign of increasingly aggressive Russian meddling overseas.

With Russia's presidential election fast-approaching, RT takes a look at how global media outlets are covering the campaign, and if they apply the same rigorous standards as they would in their home countries.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said today the alliance did not want a return to Cold War hostilities with Russian Federation while expressing support for Britain's stance.

The source of the nerve agent used - which Britain says is Soviet-made Novichok - is unclear.

Moscow's ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko said that the majority of the Russian diplomats would leave the country next week. Mirzayanov said he revealed the existence of Novichok because he thought it was necessary to deprive Russian Federation of its "deadly secret".

An 83-year-old Russian whistleblower who helped develop Novichok said in an interview published Friday that a few countries in the world have laboratories powerful enough to develop the nerve agent thanks to a formula he published in 2008.

However, Johnson went further, blaming Putin directly on Friday. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a newspaper column that politicians must not "rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police".

Trump, echoing the British government, said it looked as though Moscow was behind the attack.

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