The ordinary procedure of taking down the Russian flag at the country's diplomatic mission in the UK for cleaning made headlines, with media hinting that Moscow decided to take down the flag in response to Britain's measures against Russia's diplomats.
Russian embassy's staff removed the flag from the flagpole and replaced it with another one, untangled and clean.
BREAKING — UK: The Russian flag has been taken down outside the country's London embassy this afternoon as PM Theresa May vows to expel 23 Russian diplomats, cancels all contact with Moscow and calls for international sanctions as retaliation over the Salisbury nerve gas attack. pic.twitter.com/gaZMQ7ykl1— Behind The News (@Behind__News) March 14, 2018
Just got all excited as a bloke jumped out of a window at the Russian Embassy and took the flag down… but he has now popped out again replaced it with a cleaner one #Russia #RussianSpyPoisoning pic.twitter.com/CqM5OzgNDL— Hannah Bayman (@hannahbayman) March 14, 2018
Russian flag REMOVED from London embassy after spy sanctions https://t.co/M7bUrl0ufw— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) March 14, 2018
Earlier in the day, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the UK over the poisoning of former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, stressing that London will suspend all high-level contacts with diplomatic officials from Moscow. The Russian Embassy in London called May's gesture "unacceptable, short-sighted and unjustified." Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia is preparing a mirror response.
Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious last week on a bench outside a shopping center in Salisbury. Both of them remain in critical condition and are being treated for suspected exposure to a chemical substance. UK police and MI5 Security Service are carrying out an inquiry into the allegations of Russian state involvement in a number of deaths in the United Kingdom, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said.