Russian Federation says it will expel British diplomats in spy crisis retaliation

Vasily Nebenzya and Theresa May

The UK government says they were poisoned with a nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation called Novichok.

Downing St. says officials from the OPCW are expected in Britain soon to take a sample of the poison.

Skripal, a former colonel in the GRU who betrayed dozens of Russian agents to British intelligence, and his daughter have been critically ill since March 4, when they were found unconscious on a bench.

Moscow has now also opened their own investigation into the attack on Yulia, who is a Russian citizen.

Trump, who has often been reluctant to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin, said it "certainly looks like the Russians were behind it".

"Who to vote for, how to exercise your right to free choice, that is the decision of each person", Putin said in a video released late yesterday and carried in news bulletins Friday morning.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said earlier on Friday that it was overwhelmingly likely that Putin himself made the decision to strike down a former Russian agent on English soil.

In a statement, the four leaders said they shared the view of British investigators that "there is no plausible alternative explanation" for the attack.

Britain's Foreign Ministry said it had anticipated Russia's response and its priority now is looking after its staff in Russian Federation and assisting those who will return home. The pair remain in critical condition.

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May announced the sanctions against Russian Federation in the House of Commons after Moscow ignored a deadline to explain its links to the attack on the Skripals.

Many voters credit the 65-year-old former KGB agent, with standing up for Russia's interests in a hostile outside world.

Bristow told reporters afterwards that Britain had only expelled the Russian diplomats after Moscow had failed to explain how the nerve toxin had got to Salisbury. They have denied any involvement.

The leaders did not say what, if any, actions they would take if Russian Federation does not comply.

The Euro-American joint statement also called on Russian Federation to "address all questions related to the attack" and provide full disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). He suggested that the possibility that the Russians had lost control of the unsafe nerve agent - which May floated Monday but has since discounted - could not be excluded. Building the case against Russia, Boris Johnson claimed that "it is obvious Russia has illegally retained stocks of Soviet Chemical weapons". He also cast doubt on the possibility that the nerve agent was sent through the mail or was placed in luggage that Skripal's daughter brought with her from Russian Federation to Britain.

Russian Federation has also said it is opening a murder probe after Glushkov was found dead at his London home.

It comes as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has written in the Guardian warning against "hasty judgements", and not to "rush ahead of the evidence".

The confrontation escalated after Theresa May accused Moscow on Wednesday of an "unlawful use of force" involving a weapons-grade nerve agent and ordered out the largest number of Russian diplomats from London in 30 years.

Mr Yakovenko said that Britain had put its weight behind an "anti-Russian campaign" as it tried to establish a new place for itself within Western society after European Union withdrawal.

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