Britain, Russia spy sagas: Past sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the construction site for the Crimean bridge which is being built to connect the Krasnodar region of Russia and Crimean Peninsula across the Kerch Strait

Vladimir Putin delights in fomenting instability Credit Mikhail Svetlov Getty

The country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it had ordered the diplomats to leave within a week, moments after Britain's ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow left the ministry in Moscow.

On Thursday, Lavrov had a different estimation of what is behind the friction between Russian Federation and the USA and Britain, citing what he called the "categorical reluctance of the United States and its Western allies to agree that the 500-year-long period of Western domination in world affairs is coming to an end".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Friday it was "overwhelmingly likely" that it was Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to have former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal attacked with a Soviet-era nerve agent.

Russia's intelligence service accused British diplomats of involvement in a spy ring in which agents allegedly passed secrets through a high-tech communications system hidden in a fake rock in a Moscow park.

Writing in the Washington Post, Mr Johnson also said the poison used in the Salisbury spy attack was specifically chosen to send a message to political dissenters challenging Russian president Vladimir Putin.

A Russian lawmaker is warning Britain against escalating the crisis over the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

Russia's ambassador repeated Moscow's denial at the council meeting and suggested that the attack was a provocation aimed at tarnishing Russia's image ahead of the World Cup and elections.

"Time and time again, member states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance", she said.

British police are not linking his case with the Salisbury attack. RT is available in 100 countries including in Britain where it broadcasts from London.

Alexander Yakovenko said on Russia-24 television it will have a "serious impact" on the embassy's work.

Skripal, a former colonel in the GRU who betrayed dozens of Russian agents to British intelligence, and his daughter are critically ill.

"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. "The whole wave (of such statements) originated from Britain", the state-run RIA news agency quoted Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council Russia has "nothing to do with it", saying Russia is ready to participate in a joint investigation.

In an unusual joint move Wednesday, the US, France and Germany also pointed the finger at Russian Federation.

Found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center there on March 4, they remain in critical condition.

- In January, 2006 Moscow said it had uncovered four British spies who enjoyed diplomatic status and engaged in the alleged illegal funding of pro-democracy and human rights groups.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it is also ordering the closure of the British Council in Russia and ending an agreement to reopen the British consulate in St. Petersburg.

In an extraordinary speech on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May set a deadline of midnight on Tuesday for the Russians to provide a credible explanation as to why deadly Novichok was used on United Kingdom soil.

Referring to the risks involved, Zakharova spoke of "the understanding that the people who come to power, they are irresponsible". Putin's spokesman denounced the claim.

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