Russia's Lavrov says United Kingdom defense minister may lack education

Russia's Lavrov says United Kingdom defense minister may lack education

Moscow will expel British diplomats in response to the recent decision of the British government to expel 23 Russian diplomats from the UK, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The Foreign Secretary said the Kremlin's tit-for-tat expulsion of 23 British diplomats and the closures of the British consulate in St Petersburg and the British Council would only impact Vladimir Putin's compatriots. The British Council is a cultural institute with artistic, language and educational programs.

May ordered 23 Russians, whom Britain says were undeclared intelligence officers, to leave the U.K within a week Wednesday, after Russia ignored a midnight deadline to explain how the nerve agent was used to target the Skripals.

"We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russian Federation has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok", Johnson said.

Former Russian spy who became a double agent for Britain, Sergei V. Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain critically ill in hospital, after they were found unconscious on a bench in the Wiltshire city.

London announced it would expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow failed to meet a United Kingdom deadline to give a "credible response".

Haley called the crisis a "defining moment" for the U.N. and said the United States was solidly behind Britain.

"It is our view that when political or diplomatic relations become hard, cultural relations and educational opportunities are vital to maintain ongoing dialogue between people and institutions", a statement said.

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The newspaper also said that Ms Skripal had worked in the US Embassy in Moscow.

The government's tepid response to the 2006 killing of a former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in London with radioactive polonium appears to have emboldened Russia as it has created a permissive environment for Russians to carry out crimes in the UK.

"The offers will be considered by the Foreign Ministry, other institutions, but the main decision will be made by the President", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday. "Any reference or mentioning of our President is nothing else but shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct".

"That fact demonstrates the most telling difference between Britain and Putin: we have friends across the world and he does not".

Meanwhile, U.K. police have also opened a murder investigation in the death of another Russian exile living in Britain. Police said Glushkov died as a result of a "compression of the neck", suggesting he may have been strangled.

May has said the Russian state is responsible for the attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

"The British side has been warned that if more unfriendly actions against Russia follow, the Russian side reserves the right of taking other retaliation measures", the ministry added.

More: Ex-double agent poisoned.

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