Russia threatens tit-for-tat expulsion of British diplomats

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Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious outside of a shopping mall in Salisbury, England, on the afternoon of March 4.

Mr Skripal and his daughter are still critical in hospital following the attack.

Russian Federation was slow to respond to May's decision, spending Thursday and Friday promising a swift and strong response.

Peskov on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin would ultimately choose the option that "most suits Moscow's interests".

British ambassador Laurie Bristow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to be informed of Russia's decision.

The British Council has also fallen victim to the escalating tensions, with Moscow on Saturday withdrawing its permission for the cultural institute to open a location in St Petersburg. He said Britain must defend itself.

"We can be reassured by the strong support we have received from our friends and allies around the world", May said at the Conservative Party's spring forum in London.

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While Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement, May claims the chemical weapon was produced in the former Soviet Union. It said this was a response to Britain's "provocative actions" and "baseless accusations over the Salisbury incident".

The same day the White House declined to say whether Putin is a friend or a foe, the global community was busy condemning Russia for the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil.

"In light of their previous behaviour we anticipated a response of this kind and we will consider our next steps in the coming days alongside our allies and partners". It is Russian Federation that blatantly violates global law and the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons, "the British foreign policy department stated".

Macron later told reporters he would decide in the coming days what measures France would take against Russian Federation over the attack.

In London, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ratcheted up the rhetoric against Russian Federation, accusing it of glorying in the attack on Skripal, which he described as a way of scaring anyone who stood up to President Vladimir Putin.

"The temperature of Russian-British relations drops to minus 23 but we are not afraid of the cold weather", Russia's embassy in London said beside the picture of a thermometer surrounded by ice and reading minus 23 degrees Celsius.

"Since the poisoning in Salisbury there is always a police auto on duty under my windows".

United Kingdom police renewed their appeal Saturday for people who may have seen Sergei Skripal's burgundy BMW vehicle on the morning of Sunday, March 4, to share what they know.

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Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu says 250 counterterrorism officers are working "around the clock" on the case. There's no evidence at this stage that his death and the attack on the Skripals are linked, it said.

Mrs May also told parliament that 23 Russian diplomats were identified as undeclared intelligence officers and were given a week to leave the UK.

A still image from CCTV footage recorded on February 27, 2018 shows former Russian spy Sergei Skripal buying groceries at the Bargain Stop convenience store in Salisbury on February 27, 2018.

Western powers see the nerve-agent attack as the latest sign of alleged Russian meddling overseas.

The Kremlin, however, has repeatedly denied any involvement and dismissed Johnson's accusation as "shocking and inexcusable". After four years in prison, he was released through a prisoner swap with the United States.

The president's spokesman played down the reality of an "apocalyptic" cold war developing between Russian Federation and the West.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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