Russia's decision to expel British diplomats does not change London's position on the poisoning of former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal. This is written in the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain.
"Our ambassador in Moscow was just informed by the Russian government about the expulsion of 23 diplomats, the closure of the British Consulate General in St. Petersburg and the closure of the British Council in Moscow. This was the result of measures taken by us, in particular, to dismantle the Russian espionage network operating in Britain, in connection with the attempted murder of two people here in Britain" the statement said.
In Britain, they said that such a step from Russia was expected, and the National Security Council would meet next week to consider the next steps.
"The reaction of Russia does not change the essence of the matter - that there is no alternative conclusion, except that the Russian state is involved in the attempted murder of two persons on British soil. It is Russia that blatantly violates international law and the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons, "the British foreign policy department stated.
“23 diplomatic officers of British Embassy in Moscow are declared personae non-gratae and are expelled from the country within a week. Regarding the disparity between both countries’ consular institutions, Russia withdraws its consent to establish British Consulate General in Saint Petersburg,” the announcement says.
The representatives of Russia’s Foreign Ministry added that the British Council is not anymore functioning in Russia.
As it was reported earlier, leaders of Great Britain, France, Germany and USA claimed that poisoning of the former GRU officer Skripal and his daughter endanger their safety. The leaders stressed that they share Britain’s opinion on Russia’s involvement in this incident, and they called Moscow for providing the information about Novichok agent (a series of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union and Russiabetween 1971–1993, -ed.) to the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).