Russian Federation expels 23 United Kingdom diplomats, shuts down consulate

Russian Federation expels 23 United Kingdom diplomats, shuts down consulate

Reacting to the latest move by Moscow, Mr Johnson says: "Yesterday the Kremlin said it would close the British Council and our Consulate in St Petersburg".

Despite diplomatic tensions rising and the Skripals and a police officer remaining in hospital, Russian Federation tried to strike a humorous tone.

Putin's comments came a few hours after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he has evidence that Russian Federation has been stockpiling a nerve agent in violation of global law "very likely for the purposes of assassination".

Russian Federation had "nothing to do" with the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, said the country's ambassador to the EU.

From the Arctic to the International Space Station, Russia rolled out an elaborate presidential-election-day spectacle on Sunday created to show the breadth of Vladimir Putin's public support as Russians cast ballots in a vote that appears sure to extend their president's tenure to 2024.

Incumbent President Vladimir Putin is predicted to beat the seven other candidates in the race to secure a fourth six-year term in the Kremlin. Johnson said there were many ordinary Russians who had made their homes in Britain and were in no way to blame for the actions of Putin's government.

The ambassador's remarks came after Russian Foreign Ministry commented that the United Kingdom could be the source for the Novichok nerve agent used in Salisbury alongside with some other countries such as Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden and possibly the U.S.

"In light of Russia's previous behaviour, we anticipated a response of this kind and the National Security Council will meet early next week to consider next steps". The British Council is a cultural institute with artistic, language and educational programs.

Putin has sought to use the election run-up to emphasise Russia's role as a major world power, recently boasting of its "invincible" new weapons and continuing Moscow's support for the Syrian regime in a bloody civil war.

"We have not raised any tensions in our relations, it was the decision by the British side without evidence", he told The Associated Press. "And this will continue, because this is our foreign policy: very aggressive and very unpleasant".

Officials from the world's chemical weapons watchdog will arrive in Britain on Monday to investigate the samples used in the attack and the results should be known in about two weeks, Britain's foreign ministry said.

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

But a Russian scientist disclosed details of a secret program to manufacture the military-grade nerve agents in the 1990s, and later published the formula.

The Swedish and Czech foreign ministers and the Slovak Foreign Ministry all separately rejected the Russian claim.

It marks the next step by the UK Government to build an worldwide coalition against Russian Federation following the poisoning of the Skripals two weeks ago.

He added that there were "no stockpiles whatsoever" of nerve agents left in Russian Federation.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin guaranteed to win another term, authorities are conducting get-out-the-vote efforts to ensure a good turnout. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the British accusations as "absolutely rude, unsubstantiated and baseless".

On Friday, police said they were treating the March 12 death of exiled businessman Nikolai Glushkov as murder after a post-mortem found he died from "compression to the neck".

Russian Federation also suspects foul play in Glushkov's death and opened its own inquiry Friday.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Saturday reiterated Russian denials of involvement in the poisoning attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

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