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

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The Russian foreign ministry said it was taking the measures in response to what it called the U.K.'s "provocative actions and unfounded accusations" over the poisoning case.

The UK-Russian relations deteriorated in early March after former Russian intelligence officer Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious in a shopping center in Salisbury.

May also declared that what transpired isn't just about the United Kingdom, but is an "affront to the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons".

May said the expulsion of the 23 diplomats, identified as undeclared intelligence officers, was the biggest single expulsion for over 30 years and would degrade Russian intelligence capabilities in Britain for years to come.

Western powers see the nerve-agent attack as the latest sign of alleged Russian meddling overseas.

"Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable". Russian officials had previously said that Russia had destroyed the Novichok weapons when it had dismantled its chemical arsenal, which was completed previous year.

And it also said it would halt the activities of the British Council in Russian Federation in a tough series of retaliatory measures announced after summoning British ambassador Laurie Bristow.

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The Russian foreign ministry said staff from the UK's Moscow embassy would be expelled within a week.

Thumbing their nose at condemnation from the West, Russia social media users are mocking the United Kingdom in the wake of the attempted killings of a former spy and his daughter - widely believed to have been poisoned by Moscow.

A British policeman was also poisoned when he went to help them and remains in a serious but stable condition.

The British government has imposed sanctions on Russian Federation and expelled 23 diplomats in retaliation for the attack.

Moscow also made a decision to close the British Council in Russian Federation and to withdraw permission for Britain to open a general consulate in St Petersburg, the ministry said in a statement.

A Russian lawmaker is warning Britain against escalating the crisis over the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

"We anticipated a response of this kind and we will consider our next steps in the coming days, alongside our allies and partners", May said at a Conservative Party forum in London on Saturday.

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied that Russia or the Soviet Union had ever developed Novichok, the class of nerve agent that Britain says was used to poison the Skripals.

It ordered the diplomats to leave within a week. Alexander Shulgin, Russia's envoy at the Hague-based OPCW, said that Britain and the United States both had the nerve agent.

British Prime Minister Theresa May this week expelled 23 Russian diplomats and severed high-level contacts over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Russian Federation is to expel 23 British diplomats amid the ongoing row over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering a nerve agent attack in Britain, ratcheting up tensions on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) in an increasingly global showdown over alleged Russian meddling overseas.

Russia has notified London of the retaliatory measures in relation with the so-called 'Skripal case, ' British Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow confirmed on Saturday after being summoned to the foreign ministry.

Putin's spokesman denounced the claim as "shocking and inexcusable".

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