Russian diplomats prepare to leave UK after spy poisoning

Russian diplomats and their families are preparing to leave the UK after being expelled by PM Theresa May 

(Photo:The Guardian)
(Photo:The Guardian)

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 passengers included the 23 diplomats expelled by Theresa May last week. Family members, some holding pet carriers, were also seen boarding the vehicles.

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

Embassy workers waved to the leaving diplomats and their families as the buses pulled away, a Reuters photographer at the scene said.

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

Embassy staff waved to the Russian diplomats as they leave
Embassy staff waved to the Russian diplomats as they leave

The former Labour cabinet minister Andrew Adonis has now called on the government to expel Alexander Yakovenko, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, calling him a “cheap propaganda agent”.

The UK’s national security council was meeting on Tuesday to consider any further measures against Russia.

Moscow has denied all involvement, and is expelling 23 British diplomats in response. The UK diplomats have until Saturday to leave Russia.

The Kremlin is also closing down both the British Council in Russia, which promotes cultural ties between the nations, and the consulate in St Petersburg.

The Russian Embassy said around 80 people - including the Russian diplomats and their families - will leave London today, which is the deadline given by Mrs May.

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.

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