Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats as nerve agent fallout continues

British Prime Minister Theresa May visits Salisbury

British Prime Minister Theresa May visits Salisbury

THE Prime Minister was considering her next move last night as Russian Federation expelled 23 British diplomats after being blamed for a nerve agent attack on a former spy.

The move came in response to the UK's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats after an attack in Salisbury left former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, critically ill in hospital.

The U.K. has accused Russian Federation of bearing responsibility for the attack, which British officials say involved a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed secretly by Russian Federation.

Russian Federation also said that it was withdrawing permission for Britain to operate its consulate in the North western city of Saint Petersburg, citing a "disparity" in the number of diplomatic missions held by the two countries. It is still not clear how the Skripals came in contact with the nerve agent.

Johnson also said Britain would target wealth linked to the Kremlin as a further measure following the spy poisoning.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that it had expected the Russian retaliation, which includes closing the British consulate in St. Petersburg and barring cultural organization the British Council. They are now in critical condition in a local hospital.

In addition, according to the statement, the activity of the British Council in Russian Federation had been suspended over the lack of proper regulation, regarding its status.

The second week of the investigation began with Prime Minister Theresa May saying either Russian Federation authorised the attack or had lost control of the military-grade Novichok.

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"We actually had 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 also has been creating and stockpiling Novichok", said Johnson, interviewed Sunday on BBC's "The Andrew Marr Show".

It ordered the diplomats to leave within a week.

What began as two people suddenly taken ill on a Sunday afternoon two weeks ago has turned into an global diplomatic crisis pitting Britain and the western world against Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation.

Russian Federation has continued to deny possessing the deadly nerve agent - novichok - confirmed to have been used in the attack.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said Russian Federation should "go away and shut up" while Cabinet colleague Boris Johnson said it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Mr Putin directed the use of the nerve agent on Britain's streets. Putin's spokesman denounced the claim.

On Saturday, Russia's ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, said Moscow "had nothing to do" with the attack, accusing Johnson of "acting in an inappropriate manner" by pointing the finger at Putin. The foreign ministry said that if Russian Federation has been stockpiling nerve agents this would amount to a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, of which Moscow is a signatory.

When asked what Britain should do next, Tom Tugendhat, a Conservative lawmaker and chair of the foreign affairs select committee, told the BBC: "I think what we got to do is focus entirely on the Putin regime, the Putin family and the Putin henchmen, and focus on their money, much of which is hidden in Western Europe".

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