Russia announced that it will expel British diplomats in retaliation for Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to expel 23 Russians following an attack involving a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia on English soil, according to Reuters.
That attack, which was the first known use of the nerve agent Novichok, targeted Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter led May to accuse Russia of carrying out the attack.
Russia has denied the allegations and has accused London of carrying out the attack to increase anti-Russian sentiment.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Reuters “We will, of course,” expel the British diplomats and said that the announcement could come very soon.
The announcement comes a day after Britain, the United States, Germany, and France issued a joint statement calling on Russia to explain the attack. A German government spokesman called the attack “an immense appalling event.”
Thus far, Russia has refused to explain how Novichok was used to attack Skripal, whether it was directed by the Kremlin or if the Russians lost control of the nerve agent, but Russian investigators announced on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation into the attempted murder of Yulia Skripal.
The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to discuss the attack on Friday.