Russia is expelling another 50 British diplomats in row over Sergei Skripal poisoning

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Reuters/Samantha Lee/Business Insider

  • Russian Foreign Ministry: 50 more British diplomats must leave.
  • Russia and Britain have been expelling each other’s diplomats in a row over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

LONDON – Russia is expelling another 50 British diplomats as tensions between Russia and the rest of Europe continue to boil over.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Reuters that Britain would have to recall “a little over 50” of its diplomats in the country.

British Ambassador Laurie Bristow was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Friday and Zakharova told Reuters: “We asked for parity. The Brits have 50 diplomats more than the Russians.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats from Britain earlier this month after her government concluded that Russia was behind the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury at the start of the month.

Russia responded by expelling 23 British diplomats. Two dozen countries – including the US, many EU nations, and NATO members – then ordered about 150 Russian diplomats to leave in a show of solidarity with Britain.

Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent that subsequent tests showed was manufactured in Russia. Russia has strenuously denied orchestrating the attempted killing. Skripal remains in critical condition in hospital, while his daughter is said to be recovering.

British officials searched a Russian flight at Heathrow on Friday, which the Russian embassy called a “blatant provocation by the British authorities.”