07:53 GMT +314 December 2018
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    Russian Embassy in London

    UK Media Go Wild as Russian Flag at London Embassy Taken Down for Cleaning

    CC BY 3.0 / Kbthompson / Russian Embassy Residence
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    Earlier in the day, British Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the UK over the Skripal case; Moscow called May's gesture "unacceptable, short-sighted and unjustified" and said that a mirror response was being prepared.

    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.

    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.

    READ MORE: Lavrov: UK Rejects Russia's Demand on Granting Access to Skripal Case Docs

    On March 12, May claimed that it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for the suspected poisoning of Skripal. May said that the substance used in the incident was identified as a military-grade nerve agent from the so-called Novichok group developed in Russia. In turn, Maria Zakharova described the prime minister's remarks as a "circus show in the UK's Parliament."

    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.

    Related:

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    Skripal Case Staged to Keep UK Within EU Over "Russian Threat" – UKIP Member
    UK a Priori Blaming Russia in Skripal Case is Business as Usual - Analyst
    US Had Access to Substance Allegedly Used to Poison Skripal Since 1999 – Report
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