Russian Federation expels 23 United Kingdom diplomats as fallout over nerve agent attack escalates

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Russian Federation is to expel 23 British diplomats following the row over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Sky News reports.

In its response however, Russian Federation has called the allegations "shocking and unforgivable" and a breach of diplomatic rules of decent behaviour.

He asked Putin to ensure "appropriate personal legal guarantees" to allow those who'd been wrongly accused to go back to Russian Federation.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday that Russian Federation would expand its "black list" of American citizens who can't visit or do business in Russian Federation.

Asked by a journalist at a press conference if Russian Federation would kick out British diplomats, Lavrov said simply "of course, we will". Glushkov, 68, was discovered dead on Monday in south-west London.

On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to inform him of the expulsion. A lawyer for the Russian businessman said on March 13 that his client had died but that he was unaware of the circumstances, while a London police statement that contained no name but appreared to refer to Glushkov said officers were investigating an "unexplained" death.

British Prime Minister Theresa May this week expelled 23 Russian diplomats and severed high-level contacts over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

"It was important for the Chancellor (Angela Merkel) and the government to show very clearly that in this matter we are on the side of Britain", he said, adding that Germany had not been asked to assist with Britain's investigations.

Mr Johnson's decision to place blame for the attack in Salisbury on Mr Putin personally came as Britain awaited Moscow's response to the expulsion of 23 of its diplomats. The U.S., France and Germany have already lined up against Russian Federation on this attack, and top European Union diplomats may discuss next steps at a meeting Monday.

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On Friday, Russia's Investigative Committee said it had launched its own criminal proceedings in connection with the "attempted murder of a Russian citizen, Yulia Skripal" in Salisbury and what it called the "murder" of Nikolai Glushkov in London.

Russian Federation has repeatedly dismissed the UK's accusations as "unfounded" and warned it would retaliate over the expulsion of its diplomats.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience during a rally marking the fourth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Crimea, on March 14, 2018.

They remain in critical condition in a hospital in Salisbury, southwestern England, after being found unconscious March 4.

The risk of additional United States sanctions has increased after the Russian treasury published a list in January of oligarchs considered close to the Kremlin, as well as of top officials including Titov.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been invited to test the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack and the process is expected to begin "imminently".

Johnson said the attack on Skripal and his daughter with a military-grade nerve toxin was most likely ordered by Putin himself.

Ironically, a number of high profile Russian statements regarding the American presence in Syria have since been proven to be not only fictional, but sometimes, laughably so - such as the repeated use of video game footage presented as "evidence" of American support for the Islamic State.

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