Britain Expels 23 Russian Diplomats

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, has stated the UK will extradite 23 Russian diplomats, suspend bilateral relations with Moscow and toughen sanctions powers against Russia after the Kremlin failed to provide an explanation as to how and why former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter - Yulia, were poisoned by a Russian-manufactured nerve agent.

May told MPs on Wednesday there can be "no alternative conclusion" other than the Russian state being responsible for their attempted murder.

Russian diplomats will be given one week to leave. May described it as the biggest single expulsion in 30 years.

Furthermore, the UK has suspended all high-level diplomatic contact with Russia.

Britain will freeze Russian assets if there is evidence they are being used to compromise British security, and the government will enact a new targeted power to detain people suspected of hostile state activity at borders.

Also, the UK will increase checks on private flights, customs and freight from Russia.

The Prime Minister also confirmed that members of the Royal family would not attend the upcoming World Cup in Russia.

The PM addressed MPs on Wednesday after her deadline for Russia to give a "credible" explanation for Skripal's death passed at midnight on Tuesday.

May's statement followed a joint declaration by all 29 Nato countries calling on Russia to "address the UK’s questions" about the attack, and warned that any use of nerve agents would be a "threat to international peace and security."

BBC reports that Russia's Foreign Ministry said May's statement was "an unprecedentedly crude provocation".

It said it was "categorically unacceptable and unworthy" that the UK government had "seriously aggravated" relations by announcing a "whole set of hostile measures".

Business Insider says Russia also accused the UK of breaching the chemical weapons convention by refusing to supply a sample from the nerve agent used against Skripal.

The conflict escalated further on Tuesday after another Russian exile and critic of Putin, Nikolai Glushkov, 69, was found dead in London. 

By Thea Morrison 

14 March 2018 21:25