UK Prime Minister Theresa May Expels 23 Russian Diplomats After Spy Poisoning

May is holding the Russian state responsible for the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia

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U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has made the decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats or agents out of the country following the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia using the nerve agent Novichok. The Skripals are still critically ill and hospitalized after being poisoned in the English city of Salisbury.

Prime Minister Theresa May Is Expelling 23 Russian Diplomats From The U.K.

Prime Minister Theresa May has made the decision to be proactive, pointing a finger at the Russian state, says CNN. In her announcement, May said that this will be the “single biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats in over 30 years.” The 23 diplomats expelled have one week to be out of the U.K.

Theresa May told the House of Commons after a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council that they are drawing a line in the sand against Russia.

“For those who seek to do us harm, my message is simple. You are not welcome here.”

Theresa May is hopeful that by expelling these Russian diplomats the U.K. can “fundamentally degrade” what Russian intelligence can do in Great Britain for years.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal, along with a first responder, are still hospitalized after coming in contact the nerve agent Novichok (whose name means ‘newcomer’). Thirty-eight other people in Salisbury were seen by medics after the exposure to the deadly toxin. Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found slumped and unconscious on a park bench in town where they traveled on a shopping trip.

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The New York Times says that despite the fact that Great Britain’s closest ally, the United States, and Donald Trump seem reluctant to take a stand against Russia, Prime Minister Theresa May has openly criticized what she perceives as an attack on the U.K.

“This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom. It must, therefore, be met with a full and robust response.”

May Is Taking A Stand After A Former Russian Spy And His Daughter Were Poisoned

In addition to expelling the 23 Russian diplomats, Theresa May said that Britain is suspending all high-level contacts with Russia. May also said that new powers are being added to “crackdown” on the activities of foreign intelligence agents in the United Kingdom. She has also withdrawn an invitation for Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia to make a state visit to Great Britain.

Additionally, May has decided that no British ministers or royals will attend the World Cup this summer in Russia.

“They [the Russians] have treated the use of a military-grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt, and defiance. Their response has demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events. They have provided no credible explanation.”

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Prime Minister Theresa May Has Drawn A Line In The Sand Against The Russians

Prime Minister Theresa May says that when confronted by the news that former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia were poisoned with a specific nerve agent, the Russian government had no explanation, says USA Today.

“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 program in contravention of international law. Instead, they have treated the use of a military grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt, and defiance.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said that the British government will also freeze Russian assets whenever they have evidence. The Russian government is denying any knowledge of the poisoning event, or how the nerve agent got to the U.K.