Russian Federation will 'of course' expel British diplomats: Lavrov

Home Secretary Amber Rudd visits the Maltings area of Salisbury after the attempted murder of ex Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia

Earlier in the day, the White House released a rare joint statement from the leaders of the U.S., France, Germany and the United Kingdom blaming Russia for the chemical attack on former Russian intelligence agent Sergey Skripal and his daughter in southern England last week.

Putin discussed relations with Britain at a meeting of Russia's Security Council, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

The Russian foreign ministry tweeted an RT interview with Alexander Shulgin, Russia's permanent representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), in which he suggested British authorities were "afraid".

However, the case took a truly dramatic turn earlier this week when Prime Minister Theresa May told the British Parliament on Monday that a Novichok agent had been used in the attempted murder and it was "highly likely" that Russian Federation was involved.

An invitation for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to visit Britain has been cancelled, and British ministers and royals won't attend the soccer World Cup in Russia this summer. Britain and its allies yesterday blamed Moscow directly for a poison attack on a double agent in England, escalating diplomatic tensions as Washington separately announced sanctions against Russian Federation for allegedly meddling in its elections.

They are both reported to be in comas after being found slumped on a park bench in the quiet town of Salisbury, near Stonehenge, on March 4.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, who remain hospitalized and in critical condition.

Glushkov was strangled. While there is no evidence yet to link his killing to the Skripals' case, police said they were "keeping an open mind" because of Glushkov's nationality and his association with Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch and Putin critic who died under mysterious circumstances in 2013.

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Despite Thursday's actions, meanwhile, U.S. Democrats continued to insist the president remains bizarrely reticent when it comes to Russian Federation.

Britain announced Wednesday it will expel nearly two dozen Russian diplomats, sever high-level bilateral contacts with Moscow and take both open and covert action against Kremlin meddling after the poisoning of a former spy.

Amid calls from British politicians across the spectrum to take further action against Russia, former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Roderic Lyne, told the BBC that Britain should avoid getting dragged into a prolonged showdown with Russia. "It threatens the security of us all", they said.

Russian Federation today retaliated, announcing it will remove British diplomats from its ranks and the British position was irresponsible. The British government blames Russian Federation for the attack.

Macron said Thursday that "everything seems to indicate Russia's responsibility", and France would take measures in coming days in response to the poisoning. Russia's Defense Ministry pulled no punches, saying that "fishwife's rhetoric" revealed the "extreme intellectual impotence" of the United Kingdom official.

Russian Federation has denied involvement, claiming it destroyed all Soviet-era nerve agents.

The crisis comes as Russian Federation prepares for a presidential election on Sunday in which Vladimir Putin is expected to easily win a fourth term.

"If the latter, a connection to Russian mafia-like groups that have been allowed to gain a toehold in Britain can not be excluded", he said.

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