UK Prime Minister Theresa May Visits Scene of Nerve Agent Attack

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Asked by a Reuters reporter in the Kazakh capital if Moscow would expel British diplomats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov smiled and said on Friday: "We will, of course".

In Britain, May received widespread support for her decision to expel the 23 Russians believed to be involved in espionage and to suspend high-level meetings between British and Russian officials.

Britain, the United States, Germany and France jointly called on Russian Federation on Thursday to explain how the toxin came to be used on British soil.

"The United States believes that Russian Federation is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom, using a military-grade nerve agent", US Ambassador Nikki Haley told an emergency council meeting. British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russian Federation of "an unlawful use of force" against her country.

At an urgent meeting of the Security Council in NY on Wednesday, the United States joined Britain in condemning Russian Federation, pledging to stand in "absolute solidarity with Great Britain". He was freed as part of a spy swap deal in 2010 and took refuge in Britain.

May told Parliament on Wednesday that the United Kingdom will also move to freeze Russian state assets in response to what she called an "unlawful use of force" involving a weapons-grade nerve agent. He did not offer evidence for that assertion.

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Haley said the Donald Trump administration "stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain" following a nerve agent attack against a Russian double agent and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury last week, the CNN reported.

Russia's Investigative Committee is opening a criminal investigation into the attack and said it was ready to cooperate with Britain.

In yet another statement from the State Department, Nauert condemned Russia's March 18, 2014, annexation of Crimea, calling the referendum used by Moscow as a pretext for the move "fabricated".

Russian Federation is likely to, at the very least, expel a similar number of British diplomats.

In a joint statement, they demanded Moscow "address all questions" related to the attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, which they said amounted to a "breach of global law". He also stated that while Russian Federation had nothing to gain from such an attack, "I can think of a great number of countries that would benefit from such accusations". The officer is reportedly now in stable condition.

Skripal, who was turned by Britain's MI6 agency while serving in Spain, was arrested in Moscow in 2004 and convicted in 2006 of treason.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of perpetrating the attack and announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats. He suggested the authorities might also go after assets held in Britain by Russians close to Putin, though he gave no specific details. Nikolai Glushkov was found dead at his home this week.

  • Sonia Alvarado