Expelled Russian diplomats move out of United Kingdom embassy over spy poisoning claims

22 March, 2018, 01:43 | Author: Andrea Terry
  • Investigations continue into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal

A Reuters video showed a small crowd gathered outside the Russian embassy, hugging and waving goodbye to others boarding vehicles with diplomatic plates.

MOSCOW-Russia on Saturday announced it is expelling 23 British diplomats and threatened further measures in retaliation in a growing diplomatic dispute over a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain.

Removal vans and diplomatic cars have been leaving the embassy in London.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied carrying out the poisoning, and President Vladimir Putin described the accusations as "delirium" on Sunday, in comments after winning another six years as president. It accuses Moscow of stockpiling the toxin and investigating how to use it in assassinations.

Speaking after his meeting at the Foreign Office on Friday, British Ambassador Laurie Bristow said the, "crisis has arisen as a result of an appalling attack in the United Kingdom - the attempted murder of two people using a chemical weapon developed in Russian Federation". Russian Federation has consistently denied any culpability, accusing Britain of refusing to hand over samples of the poison used.

Assistant Commissioner for Counter Terrorism at the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu said: "To date, detectives have recovered 762 exhibits and are trawling through around 4,000 hours of CCTV". British police said Friday that he died from compression to the neck and opened a murder investigation. "Our focus is on the movements of the Skripals". "Around 400 witness statements have been taken and many more will follow in the coming days and weeks".

He said "they have been producing and stockpiling Novichok, contrary to what they have been saying".

The 28 leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday will base their response on what answers Moscow provides, the draft says.

Vladimir Putin at his campaign headquarters

European Union boss Jean-Claude Juncker has also been criticised after sending a "nauseating" letter of congratulations to President Putin that failed to mention the Salisbury poisoning.

Soon after the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury, the British government accused Moscow of poisoning them with a powerful chemical nerve agent known as Novichok.

Testing in worldwide laboratories is expected to take at least two weeks.

In a statement, it accused Britain and other European Union member states of continuing development of similar nerve agents and said Britain's government is stirring up "media hysteria" around the case to distract Britons from the government's troubles in negotiating the country's exit from the EU.

"They are still alive".

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov last week said Moscow never had any programs to develop the chemical weapon.

Russia's attacking the wrong target with its "misguided" decision to close the council, Clementine Cecil, executive director of the Pushkin House center in London, which promotes Russian culture, wrote on Facebook.

"Make those conventions work so we rid the world of chemical and biological weapons".


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