Russia expels 23 British diplomats

ANI | Updated: Mar 18, 2018 04:43 IST

Moscow [Russia], Mar 18 (ANI): Citing disparity in the number of consulates of the two countries, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that 23 British diplomats have been declared personae non-gratae and will be expelled within a week.

TASS quoted Russian Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement, "On March 17, British Ambassador to Moscow Laurie Bristow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry where he was handed a note saying that in response to provocative actions of the British side and evidence-free accusations against the Russian Federation over the incident in the city of Salisbury on March 4 this year, the Russian side has taken the following retaliatory measures."

This comes after British Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats over spy poisoning.

The Foreign Ministry further said that there was a disparity in the number of consulates of the two countries and Russia withdrew permission to open the British Consulate General in St. Petersburg.

"Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in the Russian Federation, its activities are terminated," the statement said

"The British side has been warned that if more unfriendly actions against Russia follow, the Russian side reserves the right of taking other retaliation measures," the ministry added.

Yesterday, Russian Ambassador in London Alexander Yakovenko said that the Russian diplomats expelled from the United Kingdom (UK) over the spy poisoning will leave that country along with their families on March 20.

The British Prime Minister had given a week's time to the diplomats for leaving the country.

May had also said that Britain will also cancel high-level contacts with Russia.

Retired military intelligence officer Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre on March 4. (ANI)