WORLD

Britain to expel 23 Russian diplomats, freeze Russian state assets

BRITAIN TO EXPEL 23 RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS, FREEZE RUSSIAN STATE ASSETS

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday named Moscow as responsible for the nerve agent attack against a former Russian double agent in England, and saying that UK would expel 23 Russian diplomats over spy poisoning, biggest expulsion since Cold War.

Britain will expel 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday.

"Under the Vienna Convention, the United Kingdom will now expel 23 Russian diplomats who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers," May told parliament. "They have just one week to leave."

May said the biggest expulsions from London in 30 years would degrade Russian intelligence capabilities in Britain for years to come.

"We will freeze Russian state assets wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents," May said.



UK TO SUSPEND HIGH-LEVEL BILATERAL CONTACT WITH MOSCOW
Britain will suspend high-level bilateral contact with Russia and revoke an invitation to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to visit, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Britain.

May said Britain would "suspend all high-level bilateral contact", saying that Russia was "culpable" for the poisoning.

BRITAIN SAYS ACTIONS OF PUTIN "TRAGIC"
Britain has no quarrel with the people of Russia but it is tragic that Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen to act in such a way, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday as she accused Moscow of being responsible for the poisoning of a former spy in England.

"We have no disagreement with the people of Russia... It is tragic that President Putin has chosen to act in this way," May told parliament.

"We will not tolerate the threat to life of British people and others on British soil from the Russian government, nor will we tolerate such a flagrant breach of Russia's international obligations."

MAY CALLS ON ALLIES TO ACT ON RUSSIAN CHEMICAL PROGRAMME
A nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy raises broader questions about Russia's illegal use of chemical weapons, and Britain's allies should respond appropriately, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday.

"While we rightly, initially focus on the use of this nerve agent here in the UK and its impact on us here in the UK, this is about the illegal use of chemical weapons by the Russian state," May told parliament.

"It is about an illegal programme to develop those chemical weapons by the Russian state, and we will leave no stone unturned in order to work with our allies to ensure that we respond appropriately to that."

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