Russia Expels Exact Same Number of British Diplomats

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a concert in Sevastopol Crimea Wednesday

Moscow denies any involvement and is expected to retaliate.

Mr Bristow told reporters afterwards that Britain had expelled the Russian diplomats only after Moscow had failed to explain how the nerve toxin had got to Salisbury.

May began her speech, which took place shortly after Russian Federation announced tit-for-tat expulsions of British diplomats, by accusing Moscow of being in "flagrant breach of worldwide law and the Chemical Weapons Convention".

Twenty three diplomats of the British Embassy in Moscow have been declared personae non gratae and will be expelled within a week's time.

Russian Federation has continued to deny possessing the deadly nerve agent - novichok - confirmed to have been used in the 4 March attack. He said Britain must defend itself.

Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said earlier on Wednesday that Russia completed the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles previous year under the convention.

"The Prime Minister set out a number of measures which we took to defend ourselves against this type of attack.

In case nothing is presented to us... we'll proceed from the fact that Britain has nothing and in this case it would have to be held accountable for slander", he said.

Russia has opened its own criminal investigation into the attempted murder of Yulia, a Russian citizen, and also Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile Scotland Yard said died from "compression to the neck" at his home in New Malden, south-west London. It is Russian Federation that blatantly violates global law and the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons, "the British foreign policy department stated".

Russia's Defence Ministry called UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson a "vulgar old harpy" on Thursday, after he said the country should "shut up" and "go away".

The British Government says that Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation called Novichok, for which PM Theresa May said she believes Moscow is "culpable".

"We think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the United Kingdom, on the streets of Europe, for the first time since the Second World War", Johnson said in London.

Yesterday, the leaders of Britain, the US, Germany and France issued a joint statement blaming Russian Federation for the Salisbury poison attack. "Any reference or mentioning of our President is nothing else but shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct". Russian Federation has demanded that Britain share samples collected by investigators.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "On Wednesday, the Prime Minister wrote to formally invite the OPCW to verify the Government's analysis of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack". There's no evidence at this stage that his death and the attack on the Skripals are linked, it said.

Yulia Skripal flew to London from Russian Federation on March 3, according to counter-terrorism police.