Tensions between Russia and the UK were heightened on Saturday when Moscow ordered the British Council and British Consulate General in St. Petersburg closed.
UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow and told of the closures as well as the expulsion of 23 UK diplomats in a retaliatory response to similar measures taken in London earlier in the week.
In a statement issued on the Russian Foreign Ministry website, Moscow said:
“The British side has been warned that in case further moves of an unfriendly nature towards Russia are implemented, the Russian side reserves the right to take other response measures.”
The UK diplomats are expected to leave by Tuesday.
The heightened tensions come after Russia said it was frustrated that the UK reportedly refused to share a sample of the Novichok nerve agent used in the alleged murder of former spy Sergei Skripal.
The UK needs to present evidence of Russia’s alleged involvement, the Foreign Ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry also labeled as shocking and unforgivable suggestions by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the Skripal case.