Moscow expels diplomats of countries that kicked out Russians over Skripal case

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UK authorities have one month to reduce the number of staff at its embassy and consulate in Russia to that of Russia's diplomatic presence in the United Kingdom, according to the statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry. Moscow is ousting the same number of people other states have.

Moments before the ministry announcement, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russian Federation would respond in kind to the mass expulsion of diplomats by Western governments which include, apart from the United States and Britain, most member states of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union. Moscow completely rejects the allegations of involvement in the poisoning case of Sergei Skripal - said the spokesman for Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. London is accusing Moscow of poisoning double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia earlier in March, even though the investigation is still underway and no evidence against Russian Federation has been produced.

Russia has ordered 60 USA diplomats to leave by April 5, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, in a retaliatory move against Washington which expelled a similar number of Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a Russian spy in England.

Moscow said on Thursday it was expelling 60 U.S. diplomats and would eject scores from other countries that had joined London and Washington in censuring Moscow over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office said Russia's response was regrettable and that Moscow was in flagrant breach of global law over the killing of the former spy. More than 20 countries have expelled over 150 Russian diplomats in solidarity with the UK.

The US diplomats should leave Russia by April 5, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Austria has already been dubbed "the East-West mediator" in the media.

The German Foreign Ministry also announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats; the same number will be expelled by France, Poland.

Members of a new Italian government criticized the decision of the lame duck officials to expel two Russian diplomats.

Russian Federation has firmly dismissed all such allegations and urged London to provide evidence, including samples of the nerve agent.