UK expels Russian diplomats over Sergei Skripal's poisoning

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on 14 March the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, considered as hidden intelligence officers, as May charged Russia with the poisoning of British citizen Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, with a nerve agent on 4 March. The new array of sanctions includes for example the suspension of all high-level contacts with Russia and the freeze of Russian state assets. US, EU and NATO back UK’s decision.

May did not charge any specific Russian agency with the poisoning, unlike the 2006 poisoning of ex-Russian KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London with polonium 210 which was directly attributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin. May’s decision is explained by Russian fail to provide a credible explanation for the use of a military-grade Russian weapon on British soil. Russia is still denying any involvement in the attack and urges UK to provide a sample of the nerve agent so that it could analyses it. The nerve agent used is called Novichok, a lethal chemical weapon developed in USSR during the Cold War, explaining May’s conviction of the Russian direct involvement in Skripal’s poisoning. However, UK's further sanctions could prove to be inefficient as EU leaders previously reached a consensus over further Russian sanctions.

About author: Martin Macq

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