Britain ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats believed involved in espionage-related activities, British Prime Minister announced Wednesday, in the first wave of measures against Moscow for a nerve-gas attack against a former double agent.
May, speaking to Parliament, also outlined a range of other steps, including a halt to high-level meetings with Russian officials and calling off a planned visit to Britain by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
May repeated the conclusion of British investigators that Russia had either deployed or lost control of dangerous nerve agents used in the attack – targeting the former spy and his daughter – and called Russia’s defiant response has “demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events.”
“Instead they have treated the use of a military grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance,” she told lawmakers while announcing the reprisal measures.
She gave no further details on the Russian diplomats ordered expelled, but said they were deemed “undeclared intelligence officers.” She called it the largest expulsion of Russian diplomats from Britain since Cold War-era retribution in the 1970s.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · William Booth, Matthew Bodner