The Wall Street Journal: Britain to expel 23 Russian diplomats over poisoning of ex-spy

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. would expel 23 Russian diplomats from the U.K., the country’s single biggest expulsion in more than three decades, after Moscow missed a deadline to explain how a Russian former informant for Britain’s foreign intelligence service was poisoned in the U.K. with a deadly Soviet-era nerve agent.

“There is no alternative conclusion, other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Skripal and his daughter, and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury,” May said Wednesday. “This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.”

“We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted.”

Russian Embassy in London

Earlier this month, Sergei Skripal, 66 years old, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were poisoned near their home in the city of Salisbury, southern England.

May announced a range of measures against Moscow, including the suspension of all planned high-level bilateral contacts between the U.K. and Russia, and said Moscow had demonstrated “complete disdain” for the gravity of events. The 23 Russian diplomats had been identified as undeclared intelligence officers and would have one week to leave, she said.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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