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Britain To Expel 23 Russian Diplomats In Wake Of Spy Poisoning

Twenty-three Russian diplomats will be expelled from the U.K. after Russia failed to meet a midnight deadline to disclose details of the nerve agent that is suspected to have been used to poison a former spy on British soil. Speaking in the British Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May said Russia offered “complete disdain” for the request and treated it with “sarcasm, contempt, and defiance.” May said she now considers the attempted murders as an “unlawful use of force” against Britain from the Russian state, and said 23 diplomats—whom Britain has identified as “undeclared intelligence officers”—must now leave the U.K. within a week. She added that all high-level diplomacy between the U.K. and Russia will be suspended, including a boycott of the upcoming soccer World Cup by government ministers and the royal family. The Russian Embassy in London responded: “We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted. All the responsibility for the deterioration of the Russia-U.K. relationship lies with the current political leadership of Britain.” Meanwhile, NATO announced that all members have urged Russia to answer the U.K.’s questions about its nerve-agent program, and called the attack on Skripal “the first offensive use of a nerve agent on Alliance territory since NATO’s foundation.”

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