Moscow reacts to 23 diplomats expulsion from UK

TEHRAN, Mar. 14 (MNA) – Moscow says expulsion of Russian diplomats by London on baseless allegations is an 'Unacceptable, Unjustified' Move.

The Russian Embassy in London called the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats announced by UK Prime Minister Theresa May over the poisoning of former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal "unacceptable, short-sighted and unjustified."

In a statement, the Embassy confirmed that the diplomats had been declared persona non grata, adding that London was to blame for the harm caused to Russian-UK relations by this "hostile step."

The Russian Embassy's reaction followed UK Prime Minister Theresa May's address to the House of Commons, where she announced a response to the alleged attack on Skripal.

Biggest Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Since Cold War

Reiterating a claim she made Monday about Russia's alleged culpibility in the Skripal case, the prime minister accused Russia of an "unlawful use of force against the United Kingdom," saying this crime was part of a well established pattern of "Russian state aggression" in Europe, and accused Moscow of "sarcasm, contempt and defiance" in its response to London's ultimatum to provide further information.

May announced that 23 Russian diplomats "identified as undeclared intelligence officers" will be expelled and given one week to leave.

Second, she vowed the creation of new legislative powers against "hostile state activity," as well as possible new counter-espionage powers.

May promised the freeze of Russian assets in cases where they threaten UK citizens, adding there was no place for those seeking to do harm to the UK.

The prime minister also said that "criminals" and "corrupt elites" from Russia were not "welcome" in the UK. She informed lawmakers that "led by the National Crime Agency, we will continue to bring all the capabilities of UK law enforcement to bear against serious criminals and corrupt elites. There is no place for these people – or their money — in our country."

May also confirmed that her government will be looking to strengthen Magnitsky Act-type, human rights-based amendments to existing sanctoins.

SPUTNIK/MNA

News Code 132828

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