Spy poisoning: Russian diplomats prepare to leave UK


Russian diplomats and family members leave in a bus from the Russian EmbassyImage copyright
EPA

Image caption

Embassy staff wave as a bus leaves the embassy in Kensington, London

Russian diplomats and their families are preparing to leave the UK after being expelled over the Salisbury spy attack.

Removal vans and diplomatic cars have been leaving the embassy in London.

The UK expelled 23 diplomats after Prime Minister Theresa May said Russia was “culpable” for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Later on Tuesday, the Government will decide whether to impose further sanctions on Russia.

Mrs May will chair a meeting of the National Security Council.

Moscow has denied all involvement, and is expelling 23 British diplomats in response.

According to the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Robbins, the Russian Embassy said around 80 people – including Russian diplomats and their families – will leave London today.

A small crowd gathered outside the embassy and waved goodbye to people carrying suitcases, children and pets as they boarded vehicles.

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Reuters

Image caption

Embassy staff wave as colleagues and children board buses outside the Russian Embassy in London

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Russia has expelled 23 British diplomats from the embassy in Moscow in response

It comes as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the UK must still deal with Russia despite “all fingers” pointing to it over the Salisbury spy attack.

He said he would “do business” with Russian President Vladimir Putin but assertively and on the basis of the UK’s values.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson previously said it is “overwhelmingly likely” that President Putin ordered the nerve agent attack. Russia said the accusations were “shocking and unforgivable”.

Russian former military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain critically ill in hospital after being found slumped on a bench and unconscious on 4 March.

They had been exposed to a nerve agent of a type developed by Russia called Novichok, the UK Government claims.

Meanwhile, the head of counter-terrorism policing in the UK, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, said the focus of the Salisbury investigation is “on the movements of the Skripals”.

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Media captionWhy does the UK believe Russia poisoned Mr Skripal and his daughter? The BBC’s Gordon Corera explains



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