Russian Federation will expel British diplomats in tit-for-tat move: Lavrov

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The government's tepid response to the 2006 killing of a former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in London with radioactive polonium appears to have emboldened Russia as it has created a permissive environment for Russians to carry out crimes in the UK.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says the West's angry reaction to a nerve agent attack in Britain is connected to the war in Syria.

But she said Britain had "no disagreement with the Russian people".

Speaking on Russia-24 television, Zakharova on Saturday linked Britain's angry reaction to the war in Syria.

Putin, a former KGB spy who is poised to win a fourth term in an election on Sunday, has so far only said publicly that Britain should get to the bottom of what has happened.

"The British side is warned that in case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures", the ministry said. British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking a global coalition of countries to punish Moscow. Lavrov said that Russian Federation "has stopped paying attention" to allegations against them, suggesting it is a violation of worldwide law that May is now refusing to work with Russian Federation.

Russian Federation said Friday morning that it was expelling 23 British embassy staff from Moscow.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to members of military as she visits Salisbury southwest England, March 15, 2018. There's no evidence at this stage that his death and the attack on the Skripals are linked, it said.

Western powers see the nerve-agent attack as the latest sign of alleged Russian meddling overseas.

British police appealed Saturday for witnesses who can help investigators reconstruct the Skripals' movements in the crucial hours before they were found unconscious.

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The government in London "anticipated a response of this kind and the National Security Council will meet early next week to consider next steps", a statement from the Foreign Office said.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that it had expected the Russian retaliation, which includes closing the British consulate in St. Petersburg and barring cultural organization the British Council.

"Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable", she said.

'We will freeze Russian state assets wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of United Kingdom nationals or residents, ' she said.

But Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev blamed Britain for the escalating tensions.

Diplomatic relations between London and Moscow have chilled following the incident.

The Council has been ordered to cease all operations in Russian Federation, with the Foreign Ministry citing its "unregulated status".

Russia's move came after Britain's decision on Wednesday to expel 23 Russian diplomats over the nerve toxin attack in the English city of Salisbury that left a former Russian spy and his daughter critically ill in hospital.

"It is possible that (Britain) will continue to respond; we are ready for this".

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