The UK has announced a series of measures it intends to take against Russia after it there have been no explanations from Moscow about the use of a Soviet made nerve-agent on a former spy and his daughter. These measures include expelling 23 Russian diplomats and suspension of high-level talks between the two countries.

Theresa May

Theresa May Photo Credit:

The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats due to Moscow’s refusal to provide answers on the poisoning of the former spy and his daughter, Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Wednesday.  May said that the diplomats, who were identified as “undeclared intelligence officers,” would have just one week to leave the country.

“They have provided no credible explanation that could suggest they lost control of their nerve agent. No explanation as to how this agent came to be used in the United Kingdom; no explanation as to why Russia has an undeclared chemical weapons programme in contravention of international law,” said May in a statement. “Instead they have treated the use of a military grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance.”

Among the other steps the UK will take, May said her country will suspend all planned high-level contacts between London and Moscow and work to dismantle the Russian espionage network in the UK. Furthermore, there will be heightened security measures on private flights, customs and freight from and to Russia.

May also announced that there has been “no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable” for the incident in Salisbury. “As I said on Monday, we have had a very simple approach to Russia: engage but beware,” the prime minister said.

As previously reported by JOL, Russia has repeatedly dismissed the allegations that it was involved in the poisoning. “Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance,” Russia’s embassy in London said in a statement. “Any threat to take punitive measures against Russia will meet with a response.”