Ex-spy poisoning row: Russia expels 50 more UK diplomats

ANI | Updated: Mar 31, 2018 17:55 IST

Moscow [Russia] Mar 31, (ANI): Russia has ordered 50 more British diplomats to leave the country, escalating a diplomatic crisis after a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a military grade nerve agent on British soil.

Russia on Saturday blamed Britain for hampering its diplomatic ties with all the countries, as per media sources.

Earlier on Friday, Russia summoned British Ambassador Laurie Bristow to give a one-month deadline to the United Kingdom to withdraw its diplomatic contingent from Moscow to the same size as done with the Russian diplomats in Britain.

It comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin expelled 23 diplomats on March 18 - taking the total number of British diplomats expelled from the country to more than 70. This order came days after UK Prime Minister Theresa May expelled the same number of Russian diplomats from Britain.

Moreover, Russia expelled 59 diplomats from 23 countries on Friday. Ambassadors from several European and Western nations were summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to tell them how many of their officials were to leave Moscow.

The move by Moscow was a tit-for-tat response to the similar actions taken by the countries such as the United States.

Last week, the UK had suspended 21 Russian diplomats back to Moscow, claiming that Russia was "highly responsible" for the poisoning attack.

According to the British government, Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter were exposed to a military-grade nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. The father-daughter duo has since been hospitalised in a critical condition. (ANI)