The United Kingdom will expel 23 Russian diplomats from the country after concluding that the Russian state is responsible for the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.
This will be the single biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats in over 30 years, Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday. They will have only one week to leave.
“For those who seek to do us harm, my message is simple. You are not welcome here,” she said in a statement to the House of Commons following a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council.
The Skripals are critically ill in hospital after being exposed to the nerve agent, known as Novichok and developed in Russia, on March 4. Thirty-eight other people in Salisbury were seen by medics after the exposure. One, a police officer, remains hospitalized.
May said Monday it was highly likely that Moscow was behind the poisoning. The Russian ambassador to the UK was summoned to the UK Foreign Office to explain whether the attack was directed by Russian authorities, or whether
Moscow had lost control of the nerve agent.
Russia denies any involvement in the attack.