It’s been confirmed the use of Russian-developed nerve agent Novichok was used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skirpal and his daughter. This animation shows how nerve agents attack the nervous system. (March 13)

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday that Britain will expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow failed to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used to poison a former spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

The move marks the largest expulsion of diplomats from Britain since the Cold War and May said her government will cancel all high-level bilateral contacts with Russia.

“(Russia’s) response has demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events,” May said in a statement to Parliament. 

“They have provided no credible explanation that could suggest they lost control of their nerve agent. No explanation as to how this agent came to be used in the United Kingdom; no explanation as to why Russia has an undeclared chemical weapons program in contravention of international law. Instead they have treated the use of a military grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance,” she said.

The diplomats, who have not been named, were given one week to leave.

Russia strongly disputes the allegation that it was behind the poising of Sergei Skripal, 66, a former double agent who moved to Britain after spending more than a decade in a Russian jail. His daughter, Yulia, 33, was on a visit to Salisbury, a city about 90 miles west of London, when the pair were sickened on March 4.   



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