Russians head to the polls today (Mar 18) in elections set to hand President Vladimir Putin a historic fourth Kremlin term, as the country faces increasing isolation over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of United States sanctions.
Russian Federation has also vowed to retaliate after the United States imposed new sanctions on the country this week over its reported cyberattacks and meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
After Russia ordered expulsion of 23 British diplomats, British PM Theresa May said on Saturday that Russia's dismissal of the British representatives "doesn't change the facts of the matter" of the poisoning.
Speaking at the annual Conservative Party's spring conference, May said: "In light of their [Russia's] previous behavior, we anticipated a response of this kind and we will consider our next steps in the coming days, alongside our allies and partners".
On Saturday, Moscow announced it would expel 23 British diplomats in retaliation and close the British Council and Britain's consulate-general in St Petersburg. Later she announced that London would expel 23 Russian diplomats and take other measures against Moscow.
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The move is said to be an attempt to woo voters from Lingayat community, which constitute 17 per cent of state population. The Karnataka government had earlier formed a seven-member panel headed by Justice HN Nagamohan Das.
The group said it was "profoundly disappointed" at the move.
She warned that Britain "will never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens and others on British soil from the Russian government".
Chizhov added that Russian Federation had "nothing to do" with the poisoning of former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, while talking to the BBC's Andrew Marr on his Sunday show. She said that Washington shared UK's assessment that Russian state was behind the poisoning and demanded a firm global response.
"The measures are more harsh, but the British deserved them".
The Swedish and Czech foreign ministers and the Slovak Foreign Ministry all separately rejected the Russian claim.
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The 65-year-old is now likely to dominate Russian politics for at least another six years. That included pressure on voters to fulfil their "civic duty".
Putin, in his speech, also dismissed British accusations of Russia's involvement in an ex-spy's poisoning as "nonsense", adding that Moscow is ready to cooperate with London in the probe.
"Independent investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will arrive in the UK tomorrow to kick off their investigation into the nerve agent used in the attempted asassinations of Mr Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury on 4 March", the UK Foreign Office statement said.
Britain says it is Novichok, a class of powerful nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union toward the end of the Cold War.
Putin himself has yet to make a public comment on the incident aside from one remark to a BBC reporter earlier this week in which he said: "Sort things out from your side and then we will discuss this with you".
"So I believe that what happened in Salisbury was, at least in part, the Kremlin's way of hitting back at Britain for standing firm against its appalling behaviour".
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He added that without the full commitment of the US and all parties, it is not possible to imagine the survival of the agreement. Trump does not like the deal's limited duration, among other things.
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".