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    Russia to React Immediately If US Expels Russian Diplomats - Senior Lawmaker

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow will immediately take retaliatory measures if Washington decides to expel Russian diplomats, Deputy Chairman of Russian Federation Council's Committee on International Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov told Sputnik on Saturday.

    "If the United States decides to expel Russian diplomats, the retaliatory measures will be taken immediately," Dzhabarov said.

    The lawmaker, however, noted that Trump was unlikely to follow such recommendations as there are a lot of problems in US-Russian relations which have to be settled, especially taken into account the fact that UK Prime Minister Theresa May's accusations were unfounded.

    Earlier in the day, the CNN broadcaster reported that US National Security Council recommended US President Donald Trump to expel Russian diplomats over the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom allegedly orchestrated by Moscow.

    READ MORE: Recall of Russian Ambassador From UK for Consultations Not on Agenda — Source

    On March 4, Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury and are currently being treated for exposure to what UK experts believe to be the A234 nerve agent.

    The UK side claimed that this substance was related to the Novichok-class nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of orchestrating the attack and expelled 23 Russian diplomats as a punitive measure.

    Following UK's decision, the European Council sided with London in claiming that Moscow was "highly likely" behind the recent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. The EU leaders agreed to recall EU Ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer for consultations.

    Several EU countries, including Estonia, Latvia, Ireland and the Czech Republic said they were considering the expulsion of Russian diplomats over the incident.

    READ MORE: Macron: London Shared "Proof" of Russian Involvement in Skripal Poisoning

    The Russian side has strongly rejected the accusations and offered assistance in the investigation. However, Moscow's request for samples of the chemical substance used to poison Skripal was denied. Moscow also expelled UK diplomats and ordered the British Council to stop its activities in Russia in response to the UK move.

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