04:13 GMT +318 July 2018
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    Rossiya Airlines Il-96 at the London Stansted Airport, which will carry Russian diplomats, who were ordered out from the Russian Embassy in London, to Moscow

    UK Diplomats Leaving Embassy in Russia Amid Skripal Case

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    Moscow decided to expel 23 UK diplomats as a response to a similar move by Britain after Prime Minister Theresa May blamed Russia for being "highly likely" behind the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal, a claim strongly denied by Moscow, which has repeatedly called on London to provide access to the case's materials.

    British diplomats, who had been declared personae non gratae by Russian authorities as a response to the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the UK, have left the Embassy in Moscow, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

    The remaining embassy staff said goodbye to their departing colleagues with applause.

    READ MORE: UK Diplomats Declared 'Persona Non Grata' by Russia to Leave This Week — Source

    The UK has decided to banish Russian diplomats as part of anti-Russia sanctions which were declared by the UK Prime Minister Theresa May who explained her decision by accusing Moscow of poisoning the former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.  The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied all the allegations and demanded the UK Foreign Office permit a joint investigation into the case. It has announced that 23 UK diplomats would be expelled from Russia, while the operation of the British Council will be ceased in the country.

    Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko has commented on the current situation, saying that Britain has not provided any proof of Russia's alleged involvement in the nerve agent attack.

    He has suggested that the samples of the so-called Novichok nerve gas could have already been in the laboratory located just miles away from Salisbury.

    The former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious in a shopping center in Salisbury on March 4. Both of them remain in critical condition.

    Related:

    EU Council Wants NATO Cooperation Amid Skripal Poisoning Scandal
    Despite Supporting UK in Skripal Case, EU Didn't Hurry to See 'Smoking Gun'
    'Highly Likely' Russia to Blame for Skripal Poisoning - EU Leaders
    Tags:
    expelling, Russian diplomats, diplomats, Sergei Skripal, Theresa May, Salisbury, Russia, United Kingdom
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