Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats in escalating spy dispute

Moscow Russia. Vladimir Putin is expected to be re-elected during the 2018 Presidential Elections planned on March,18

Russian Federation on Saturday announced it was expelling 23 British diplomats and threatened further measures in retaliation in a growing diplomatic dispute over a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain.

The mutual expulsion of diplomats is expected to further deepen the conflict between the 2 countries.

In comments to reporters after he left the Foreign Ministry, Bristow said the crisis had arisen because of "the attempted murder of two people using a chemical weapon developed in Russian Federation and not declared by Russian Federation".

Skripal, who was convicted in Russian Federation of selling state secrets to Britain, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the city of Salisbury.

Speaking as she met emergency services and residents of the Wiltshire city, Mrs May said: "We do hold Russian Federation culpable for this brazen and despicable act that has taken place on the streets of what is such a remarkable city".

"We have said on different levels and occasions that Russian Federation has nothing to do with this story", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a text message responding to Johnson's claim.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported early Saturday that British police were contacting Russian exiles to discuss their safety following the murder of businessman Nikolai Glushkov.

In a demonstration of the West's unity, Mrs May and Mr Trump, along with Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron, issued a joint statement endorsing the Prime Minister's conclusion that it was "highly likely" Russian Federation was behind the attack on the Skripals.

Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, speaks at the Conservative Party's Spring Forum in central London, Britain March 17, 2018.

The source of the nerve agent used - which Britain says is Soviet-made Novichok - is unclear.

But she said Britain had "no disagreement with the Russian people".

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There is an on-going speculation, that Russian state-funded Russia Today (RT) television network could be stripped of its broadcasting license in the U.K.in the wake of the nerve agent attack.

A man takes the flag off the flagpole outside the consular section of Russia's Embassy in London, Britain.

Skripal had taken his daughter, who was on a visit from Moscow, out for lunch in Salisbury before they both collapsed on a bench.

Russian Federation has also said it is opening a murder probe after Glushkov was found dead at his London home. The father and daughter remain in hospital in a serious condition.

Lavrov said Friday that Russian Federation will "of course" expel British diplomats and that he hopes the Skripals recover soon so light can be shed on what happened. Russian officials quickly dismissed the accusations and vowed the nation wold take reciprocal actions. Downing Street called the attack "an unlawful use of force' by the Russians against the United Kingdom".

The Russian foreign minister on Thursday said Moscow would respond by expelling British diplomats "soon".

In a joint statement issued by the office of British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the U.K. said the incident was the first "offensive" use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II.

In a sign of just how tense relations have become, British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "Russia should go away, it should shut up".

"Perhaps he also wants to go down in history with some loud statements".

Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Kingdom government would consider its next steps "in the coming days, alongside our allies and partners".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose response to the attack has led to criticism from some on his backbenches, said "the evidence points towards Russia" being responsible - but the possibility of gangsters being behind the attack rather than the Kremlin could not be excluded.

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