Russia Vows Retaliation Against UK Over Diplomat Expulsions

British ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow leaves after a meeting at the Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow

British ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow leaves after a meeting at the Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow

- In May 1996 Britain ordered the expulsion of four Russians working at the London embassy, in response to the kicking out of four British diplomats from Russia.

Russia is getting ready to retaliate against the United Kingdom over its decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats.

The London-Moscow row started following the murder attempt on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain's southwestern city of Salisbury.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday Moscow had already decided on retaliatory measures, which she said Britain would be informed of in the near future.

Aside from confirming it would expel some British diplomats, without giving the number, Russian Federation has been coy about its potential responses.

Corbyn also argued that targeting the "oligarchs and their loot would have a far greater impact on Russia's elite than limited tit-for-tat expulsions".

Russian Federation has called the charges "groundless accusations" and says British authorities have refused to provide samples of the nerve agent used.

In London, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defended the government's response and suggested the authorities might also go after assets held in Britain by Russians close to Putin, though he gave no specific details.

"We are now considering the Prime Minister's update", a spokesman for Ofcom said.

Specialist officers in protective suits prepare to secure the police forensic tent that had been blown over by the wind and is covering the bench where Sergei Skripal was found critically with his daughter on March 4 and were taken to hospital sparking a major incident, in Salisbury on March 8, 2018 in Wiltshire, England.

The American leadership's tone on the issue went through an abrupt change after a telephone conversation Tuesday night between Trump and the British prime minister, with the White House issuing a statement afterwards expressing solidarity with the U.K. According to a readout on the conversation from May's office, "President Trump said the USA was with the U.K. all the way", as NPR reported.

The crisis has unraveled in the thick of Russia's presidential campaign, with Putin expected to win a fourth Kremlin term on Sunday.

Russian Federation has insisted it is ready to cooperate in investigating the attack in Salisbury if Britain reciprocates by sharing the evidence it holds.

The nerve agent has been identified as Novichok, and is known to have been made in Russian Federation.

On Thursday, Lavrov had a different estimation of what is behind the friction between Russian Federation and the USA and Britain, citing what he called the "categorical reluctance of the United States and its Western allies to agree that the 500-year-long period of Western domination in world affairs is coming to an end".

Separately, Washington on Thursday slapped sanctions on two of Russia's biggest intelligence agencies, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the GRU military intelligence service, in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and malicious cyber attacks.

The veteran diplomat, 67, fell as he came on stage at the Russian Federation the Land of Opportunities forum amid escalating tensions over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skirpal in Salisbury.

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. "But London must understand that this will not do anything, it is useless to talk with Russian Federation with such methods", Dzhabarov was quoted as saying by the state news agency RIA Novosti.

The leader of Britain's main opposition party says the government shouldn't rush to blame Moscow for the nerve agent poisoning of a former spy.

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