Russian politician warns Britain not to escalate diplomatic crisis

Russian politician warns Britain not to escalate diplomatic crisis

Britain's allies came out on Thursday in support of the UK's retaliation for the attack - on Wednesday Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian spies posing as diplomats, as well as covert operations against hostile Russian activity, and new laws to allow asset seizures and visa bans against corrupt Russian oligarchs in Britain.

Lavrov on Friday accused Britain of violating worldwide law and criticized Britain's defense minister for what he called "uneducated" comments about Russian Federation.

Britain, the United States, Germany and France have jointly called on Russia to explain the attack, while U.S. President Donald Trump has said it looks as if the Russians were behind it.

She said Britain is taking a tough line because of frustration at recent advances of Russian-backed Syrian government forces against Western-backed rebels.

As I write, the principal target, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, are both in critical condition.

He said that Russia's demands that the United Kingdom substantiate its accusations come also due to the fact that Yulia Skripal poisoned alongside her father, a former Russian military intelligence colonel, is a Russian national and lives in Moscow. The pair are critically in the hospital after being exposed to a nerve agent known as Novichok that was developed in Russia, UK officials believe.

Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said earlier on Wednesday that Russia completed the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles previous year under the convention. The sanctions are the first use of the new powers that Congress passed past year to punish Moscow for meddling in an election that Trump won over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

He accused Britain of fanning "anti-Russian rhetoric bordering on hysteria".

"Britain in new circumstances is trying to find its new place in Western society, because they are leaving the European Union", he said.

The Russian ministry also said it was ordering the British Council in Russia to cease operation and that a British consulate in St. Petersburg would not reopen.

He condemned Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson's call for Russian Federation to "go away and shut up" as "shocking".

"Twenty three diplomatic staff at the British embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and to be expelled within a week", the foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday after summoning British ambassador Laurie Bristow.

"The reason they've chosen this nerve agent is to show that it's Russian Federation, and to show people in their agencies who might think of defecting or of supporting another way of life, of believing in an alternative set of values, that Russian Federation will take revenge", Johnson told the BBC. It is now a scene of police tape and forensic tents, one of several scattered across the quiet cathedral city as police, supported by troops with chemical-weapons training, try to discover how and where the poison was administered. Any boycott of the soccer World Cup, which Russian Federation hosts this summer, is not an immediate priority, she said.

Moscow announced the measures on the eve of a presidential election which incumbent Vladimir Putin should comfortably win.

But he added: "We are right, we know what we are doing, and the time will come when the people of Britain will understand that they have maybe to have another government or other people who have a better policy towards Russian Federation".

She went on to urge the U.N.to take action against the Putin-led nation, saying that the "credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold Russian Federation accountable".

"We hope reason will prevail and other countries will think hard how serious the evidence against Russian Federation is", he said.

Until Friday, British officials had been careful to give the Kremlin a little room for deniability, saying that Russian Federation had either directed the attack or allowed its chemical weapons to fall into the hands of unspecified rogue actors.

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