Russian Federation to expel 23 British diplomats, close consulate general in St. Petersburg

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Russian Federation is yet to formally retaliate to Prime Minister Theresa May's expulsion of the diplomats.

Moscow also said it would halt the activities of the British Council in Russian Federation in a tough series of retaliatory measures announced after it summoned British ambassador Laurie Bristow.

The announcement followed Britain's order this week for 23 Russian diplomats to leave the United Kingdom because Russia was not cooperating in the case of the Skripals, who were found March 4 poisoned by a nerve agent that British officials say was developed in Russia.

Asked by a Reuters reporter in the Kazakh capital Astana if Moscow would expel British diplomats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov smiled and said: "We will, of course".

Responding to the accusations and expulsions by Britain, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Johnson's remarks "shocking and unforgivable".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday Russia would order British diplomats to leave the country in response to London's decision to expel 23 staff at the Russian embassy in London.

Russia's UK diplomat expulsion doesn't change facts of matter, says Theresa May
Moscow offered some cooperation to British authorities after the 2006 London murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko too. A British judge in 2014 said he could not be sure if Berezovsky killed himself or was the victim of foul play.

The UK government said they were poisoned with a nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation called Novichok and Prime Minister Theresa May said she believed Moscow was "culpable".

On March 4, 2018, Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, got critically ill after they were found unconscious on a bench in the Wiltshire city.

Police officers at the scene of the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England.

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Britain's National Security Council will meet early next week to consider the next steps, May said.

He also said he thinks the Skripals, who are in critical condition, have little chance of surviving. That was the most significant action taken against Moscow since Donald Trump took office. Russian Federation denies involvement and said the accusations against Putin were "shocking and unforgivable".

The BBC on Saturday said the police had made contact with Russians living in Britain to discuss their safety.

Russian Federation : police say Nikolai Glushkov, enemy of Putin, was murdered
In a 2017 Russian trial, Glushkov was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison for stealing $123 million from Aeroflot. When contacted by The Independent , the Met Police said it did not comment on matters concerning the safety of individuals.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office said that Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull joined her in condemnation of the attack.

Speaking on Russia-24 television, Zakharova said Britain is taking a tough line against Russia because of frustration at recent advances of Russian-backed Syrian government forces against Western-backed rebels.

Russian Federation disregards the global rules-based order and attempts to discredit western democratic institutions and electoral processes to weaken the west as a whole. This comes as United Kingdom police launch a murder investigation into the death of an exiled Russian businessman.

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".

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

Skripal betrayed dozens of Russian agents to Britain before being arrested in Moscow and later jailed in 2006.

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Russian Federation has called the charges "groundless accusations" and says British authorities have refused to provide samples of the nerve agent used.

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