Expelled Russian Diplomats Preparing To Leave London Embassy

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The Foreign Ministry said it would also order an end to all activities of the British Council, Britain's worldwide organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and warned London that "if any further unfriendly actions are taken against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take other retaliatory measures".

A plane carrying Russian diplomats and their families departed London's Stansted airport, after they were expelled from Moscow's Kensington embassy following the Salisbury poisoning.

The meeting on Tuesday was happening after almost two dozen Russian diplomats were ordered to leave Britain because of the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter.

On Monday, inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) began running independent tests on samples taken from Salisbury to verify the British analysis, said an OPCW source speaking on condition of anonymity. The two are being treated for exposure to a chemical substance and remain in critical condition. Britain says they were exposed to a Soviet-designed military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok, and blames Moscow for the attack.

"It's painstaking work", Basu told the BBC.

The Kremlin on March 19 insisted that Britain must prove Russia's involvement in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter or apologize. After several days of investigation, British authorities determined that they were poisoned with a nerve agent known as Novichok, which is believed to be unique to Russian Federation.

May and other European Union leaders are due to discuss the poisoning at a summit on Thursday.

Britain has thrown out Russian 23 diplomats over the March 4 nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in an English town. "It will create certain problems but most of us understand where we are working and in the current situation each diplomat is ready for any unexpected developments", he added.

Neil Mockford via Getty Images                   Russian diplomats and their families are farewelled
Neil Mockford via Getty Images Russian diplomats and their families are farewelled

Russia's ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, prompted a strong rebuttal when he suggested the poison may have come from the Porton Down laboratory, which is around eight miles from Salisbury.

Yesterday Boris Johnson held talks with European foreign ministers in Brussels to secure support for Britain's tough stance on Russian meddling in the West.

"The British side is warned that in case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures", the foreign ministry said. It said that it had completed the destruction of its chemical arsenals previous year under worldwide oversight.

Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova emphasized that Britain has failed to provide any proof of Russian involvement, limiting itself to "boorish accusations".

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday repeated her belief that Russian Federation was responsible.

They will also meet police before sending samples to worldwide laboratories for testing, with results expected to take at least two weeks, according to British officials.

British police appealed Saturday for witnesses who can help investigators reconstruct the Skripals' movements in the crucial hours before they were found unconscious.

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