Published: Sat, March 24, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Russian Federation tension: British diplomats leave Moscow

Russian Federation tension: British diplomats leave Moscow

Up to 20 European Union countries and the United States are preparing to expel Russian diplomats nearly three weeks after the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

Ultimately, the outcome of that meeting was a recommendation that Trump should expel more Russian diplomats from the United States - an option several sources told CNN was the most severe response under consideration.

Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the facility, said yesterday there was "no way" a nerve agent could have left the site.

Russia President Vladimir Putin's office said Thursday that Greek leader Alexis Tsipras had called Putin to congratulate him on his re-election and discuss issues, including the Salisbury poisoning.

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.

During a summit dinner, May laid out the reasons Britain is convinced Moscow was behind the attack, including the type of poison used — a Soviet-developed nerve agent known as Novichok — and intelligence that Russian Federation has produced it within the last decade.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain critical and largely unresponsive in hospital.

The lawmaker, however, noted that Trump was unlikely to follow such recommendations as there are a lot of problems in US-Russian relations which have to be settled, especially taken into account the fact that UK Prime Minister Theresa May's accusations were unfounded.

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In retaliation to the UK's steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russian Federation.

"We agreed - Germany and France at least - that such reactions are still necessary in addition to recalling the ambassador".

Latvia was the first to commit explicitly to expelling Russians, saying it expected to make an official announcement on Monday.

Lithuanian leader Dalia Grybauskaite said the "very detailed" information the PM provided "influenced our decision" to "upgrade' the response text". There are countries in the European Union that have a warm relationship with Moscow, and others who don't necessarily want a cold relationship with Moscow.

The Russian ambassador to Britain wrote Friday to a policeman exposed to the nerve agent used against the Skripals, insisting on Moscow's innocence and thanking him for his bravery.

He added the Mr Skripal said he regretted becoming a double agent "because his life had become all messed up".

"I would like to express my honest gratitude to you for your bravery when reacting to the assault on two Russian nationals", he wrote.

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