London declares diplomatic war on Russia
The United Kingdom will expel 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning case of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said.
May told parliament that Britain would also freeze Russian state assets wherever there was evidence of a threat and downgrade its attendance at the soccer World Cup this summer.
The PM said the expulsion of the 23 diplomats, identified as undeclared intelligence officers, was the biggest single expulsion for over 30 years and would degrade Russian intelligence capabilities in Britain for years to come.
"We will freeze Russian state assets wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents," Reuters cited May as saying.
She also said no ministers or members of the royal family would attend the World Cup in Russia.
Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4.
May said the pair were attacked with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent. She had asked Moscow to explain whether it was responsible for the attack or had lost control of stocks of the highly dangerous substance.
The UK has also called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council over the poisoning of Sergey Skripal.
The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that it was a faltering move in comparison with London's threats to Moscow. "We had a fear that it could be very serious, to the extent that Britain could declare war on Russia without conducting real combat operations, because London said that there had been armed aggression and illegal use of the Russian Armed Forces in the territory of Great Britain. But we see that there have been minimum measures," he noted.
In this regard, Sergei Markov expects that Russia will act in response to the diplomatic escapade of Britain, just as it did last year after the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States - will reduce the number of British diplomats in Russia's diplomatic missions.