Nerve agent fallout: Russian Federation evicts United Kingdom diplomats

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Russia announced Saturday it will expel 23 British diplomats and halt the activities of the British Council in response to London's "provocative" measures over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter.

Lavrov said that Moscow had stopped paying attention to comments from Britain over the spy poisoning allegations, which Russian Federation deny.

He said the reaction across the Government, Parliament and the wider country had been "hugely encouraging" but he hit out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who came under fire on Wednesday after failing to offer explicit support for the Prime Minister's approach in the House of Commons.

He told the BBC: "My personal point of view (is) that Theresa May and her colleagues they have created a fake story because they need an explanation to British people and British business why they are going to perform some anti-British steps in favour of United States policy against Russian Federation".

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

The Daily Telegraph reported that the nerve agent used in the attack could have been planted in Yulia Skripal's suitcase during a recent trip to Moscow.

Russia, which denies any involvement in the incident, condemned May's decision to expel Russian envoys as "unacceptable" and had vowed a "swift response".

The British ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow was summoned for talks with the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

Skripal was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2006 for spying for Britain, according to Russian state media accounts of the closed hearing.

The attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury was highlighted by the US Treasury as one of the justifications for the tougher line against Moscow.

The UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson pointed the finger directly at Vladimir Putin on Friday, saying that it is "overwhelmingly likely" that the Russian president personally took the decision to use a nerve agent to attempt to kill Mr Skripal on British soil.

The UK's deputy UN ambassador, Jonathan Allen, told a special meeting of UN Security Council that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had been asked to verify its analysis that Moscow was behind the attack.

Detectives are trying to pin down the movements of the BMW owned by ex-spy Sergei Skripal on the morning before he was found critically ill. They are taken to Salisbury District Hospital, where they remain in critical condition.

The US news outlet said United Kingdom officials now have a clearer picture of how the attack was carried out and that the Skripals may have been exposed to the substance through his BMW's ventilation system.

The Foreign Secretary's comments were rebuked by Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said: "Any reference or mentioning of our president is nothing else but shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct".