United Kingdom weighs sanctions to punish Russian Federation over spy poisoning

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May reacts as the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn responds to her address to the House of Commons on her government's reaction to the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughte

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May reacts as the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn responds to her address to the House of Commons on her government's reaction to the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughte

Having failed to get a quick reply from Russia, British Prime Minister Theresa May instituted a slew of measures in response to the attack, including expelling 23 Russian diplomats (Russia has promised to retaliate), and freezing its government assets considered potentially harmful to Britons.

After the first known offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War Two, Britain has pointed the finger at President Vladimir Putin and on Thursday May gave the 23 Russians who she said were spies working under diplomatic cover at the embassy in London a week to leave.

"A total of 23 diplomatic employees of the British Embassy in Moscow are declared personae non gratae and must leave within a week", said the statement, warning that Moscow retained the right to respond if Britain continues to take unfriendly steps against Russian Federation.

The Foreign Ministry said Moscow's measures were a response to what it called Britain's "provocative actions and groundless accusations".

The Foreign Office says "Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable".

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This is published unedited from the PTI feed. The military grade nerve agent used in the attack, the first of its kind in Europe since World War II, has been identified as being from the Novichok class of chemical agents developed by Russian Federation during the Cold War.

Russian Federation will respond soon with sanctions.

The Skripals are reported to be in critical condition, but British authorities have provided no further information about their status.

Speaking on Russia-24 television, Zakharova said Britain's angry reaction is connected to the war in Syria. The Times went with "West unites to confront Russian Federation over poisonings" alongside a photograph of President John F Kennedy, who led the USA during perhaps the most dramatic phase of the actual Cold War.

That will be seen by Britain as a low blow, hurting the Russian people - not the British government.

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A Russian lawmaker warned Britain against escalating the crisis. Any boycott of the soccer World Cup, which Russian Federation hosts this summer, is not an immediate priority, she said.

President Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the foreign ministry was working out measures but added that "it is indeed the president who will make the final decision".

In the most recent case, British counterterrorism police on Tuesday took charge of the investigation into the death in London of a Russian businessman because he was connected to a prominent Kremlin foe.

The country has demanded access to the case and opened its own investigation into the attempted murders on Friday. "We can be reassured by the strong support we have received from our friends and allies around the world", May said at the Conservative Party's spring forum in London.

The incident revived memories of the fate of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian dissident who died of Polonium radiation poisoning in a 2006 attack in Britain that London blamed on Moscow.

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The British ambassador had been expecting this call for three days. The Independent went right ahead and declared that Cold War II is already here, while The Express ran a helpful article explaining what exactly a 'cold war' is and where the term comes from - now that "Russia v United Kingdom war 2018" has arrived.

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