Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Russian Federation to expel United Kingdom diplomats as row over spy attack escalates

Russian Federation to expel United Kingdom diplomats as row over spy attack escalates

U.S. President Donald Trump told May by telephone Russian Federation "must provide unambiguous answers regarding how this chemical weapon, developed in Russian Federation, came to be used in the United Kingdom", the White House said.

Peskov also issued a warning to the United Kingdom while dismissing Prime Minister Theresa May's allegations that suggested Russian Federation was behind the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury March 4.

"This use of chemical weapons is a clear violation of the worldwide law", he said.

The UN ambassador told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday the USA agrees with British officials that a Russian defector and his daughter were likely poisoned by Russian agents in Salisbury, England, last week.

"The United States believes that Russian Federation is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent", Haley told the council.

"The leaders called on Russian Federation "to address all questions related to the attack", and provide a complete disclosure of the Novichok (nerve agent) program to the world chemical weapons watchdog." the statement said.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of perpetrating the attack and announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.

But Moscow claims it wants proof of this 'attack, ' requesting a sample of the nerve agent.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has responded to the UK's accusations against Russian Federation regarding the Skripal poisoning case and claimed the allegations lacked sufficient grounding.

In Washington, US President Donald Trump said "it certainly looks like the Russians were behind it".

May announced two days ago that the diplomats, identified as "undeclared intelligence agents", had one week to leave the country in what represents the biggest expulsion of diplomats in over 30 years.

European Union president Donald Tusk said Friday that the bloc would discuss the attack at a Brussels summit next week, adding it would send a "clear message".

Skripal and his daughter have been critically ill since they were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, an elegant cathedral city, on March 4.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gestures during a meeting with South Korea's National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong in Moscow, Russia on March 13. "If we don't take immediate action, they could be used here in NY", she said.

Later on Thursday, Trump told reporters that "it looks like" Russian Federation was behind the attack.

She announced a range of economic and diplomatic measures, including the suspension of high-level bilateral contacts with Russian Federation.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday Moscow had already decided on retaliatory measures, which she said Britain would be informed of in the near future.

"Russia is perplexed and does not comprehend the stance by the British leadership and the British side against the backdrop of Skripals' case", Peskov said, according to Russia's TASS news agency.

As relations between the two nations sank to a new post-Cold War low, almost two dozen Russian diplomats in London were packing their bags to leave Tuesday after an expulsion order from Britain.

"Russia should shut up and go away", Williamson said.

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