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    Police officers stand outside the house of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal who was found critically ill Sunday following exposure to an unknown substance in Salisbury, England, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

    New Zealand to Ban Entry to Russian Diplomats Expelled by Other States

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    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - New Zealand has confirmed its intentions to ban entry to Russian diplomats, expelled by other countries over Moscow's alleged involvement in the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a joint statement on Thursday.

    "We will be asking our security partners to provide those names [of the diplomats] to us. Those names will then be placed on a travel ban list to ensure that individuals who have been found to undertake activities incompatible with their diplomatic status in other countries do not enter New Zealand," the statement read.

    New Zealand is "raising questions on legitimate matters of international concern" that Russia needs to answer, according to the statement.

    Earlier this week, Ardern stated that New Zealand had no intention of expelling Russian diplomats. The minister noted that the government "ran a check" and found no undeclared intelligence officers in New Zealand.

    Skripal, a former GRU colonel who also worked for UK intelligence, and his daughter Yulia have been in hospital in critical condition since March 4. London believes that the Skripals were exposed to the A234 nerve agent, which UK experts have claimed is 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.

    READ MORE: Georgia Expels One Russian Diplomat Over Skripal Case — Reports

    The situation has already resulted in what UK Prime Minister Theresa May called the "largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history" with over 25 countries expelling Russian diplomats since the beginning of this week.

    Russia, in turn, has strongly rejected the accusations and suggested helping in the investigation. However, Moscow's request for samples of the chemical substance used to poison Skripal was denied. In response, Moscow expelled UK diplomats and ordered the British Council to stop its activities in Russia.

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    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)

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    Russian diplomats, Russia, United Kingdom, New Zealand
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