Russian Federation to expel 23 United Kingdom diplomats

     TENSIONS Relations between Russian and the UK have plunged into a deep freeze

GETTY TENSIONS Relations between Russian and the UK have plunged into a deep freeze

Britain has evidence Russia has been stockpiling and creating a deadly nerve agent used in the poisoning of a former Russian spy for the last 10 years, the foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said.

The announcement followed on the heels of Britain's order this week for 23 Russian diplomats to leave the United Kingdom because Russia was not cooperating in the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, both found March 4 poisoned by a nerve agent that British officials say was developed in Russia.

Johnson said Britain's National Security Council will meet this week to discuss "what further measures if any" the country will take.

Former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain in a critical condition in hospital, while Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was exposed to the Novichok nerve agent while responding to the incident, is no longer considered critical. They believe the toxin was used in a dust-like powdered form and that it circulated through the vents of Skripal's BMW.

Britain and Russian Federation have each expelled 23 diplomats, broken off high-level contacts and taken other punitive steps in the escalating tit-for-tat dispute, which clouded the run-up to Sunday's presidential election in Russian Federation.

Russian Federation to expel 23 British diplomats
Russia, which denies any involvement in the incident, condemned May's decision as unacceptable and vowed a swift response . Russian voters are gearing up for a presidential election on Sunday that Vladimir Putin is guaranteed to win.

Earlier, British Prime Minister Teresa May said that London considers Russian Federation to be involved in the incident, since it was established that Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by Novichok gas, which was created back in the USSR.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain would consider its next steps with its allies in the coming days.

The Swedish and Czech foreign ministers and the Slovak foreign ministry all separately rejected the Russian claim.

He, too, affirmed that if the Russian government is asked to run an investigation on the issue, the American government has to formally put in a request for it and that shouldn't come through media propaganda and speculations by members of the US Congress.

The government source said: "There is collective agreement that we need to have a response that Putin will take seriously". And it said it had halted the activities of the British Council, Britain's global organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.

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Western powers see the nerve-agent attack as the latest sign of alleged Russian meddling overseas. The tensions threaten to overshadow Putin's expected re-election Sunday for another six-year presidential term.

The foreign ministry said Moscow's measures were a response to what it called Britain's "provocative actions and unsubstantiated accusations".

Russian Federation goes to vote in the presidential election Sunday to elect Vladimir Putin for the fourth term in Kremlin. Russian Federation has demanded that Britain share samples collected by investigators. A strong showing would bolster Putin's assertion of a strong mandate to lead, and would likely further embolden him domestically and internationally.

Ukraine said the move was to protest voting Sunday in Crimea, whose annexation is still not internationally recognized.

On Friday, police said they were treating the March 12 death of exiled businessman Nikolai Glushkov as murder after a post-mortem found he died from "compression to the neck".

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"Ambassador expressed gratitude to his colleagues for their contribution to the work of the Embassy and noted that for those who are returning to Russian Federation one period in their career is ending and another one is starting".

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