Moscow: London given a month to cut number of diplomats in Russia
The Russian foreign ministry has expressed a protest to the UK Ambassador to Russia over London's provocative actions inspiring the expulsion of over 150 Russian diplomats from more than 20 countries, APA reported citing Sputnik.
UK authorities have one month to reduce the number of staff at its embassy and consulate in Russia to that of Russia's diplomatic presence in the United Kingdom, according to the statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The statement also said that British ambassador to Moscow Laurie Bristow was summoned to the foreign ministry building and given a note of protest. The ministry added that Russia remained ready to cooperate with the United Kingdom on the investigation into the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal either within the international legal framework or o the bilateral level.
This comes after on Thursday Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov promised to expel diplomats from those countries that had expelled Russian diplomats in a move of support for UK Prime Minister Theresa May's accusations regarding Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of ex-GRU officer Sergei Skripal. More than 20 countries have expelled over 150 Russian diplomats in solidarity with the UK.
Skripal, a former Russian spy, remains in a hospital along with his daughter Yulia after being found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4. UK authorities have claimed that the Skripals were poisoned by the A-234 nerve agent, which British experts have claimed is related to the Novichok-class nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the "baseless" accusations and demanded access to the case's materials, including samples of the nerve gas, allegedly used to poison the Skripals. The request was denied by London.
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