Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday ordered the expulsion of 23 diplomats and the closure of the British Council, a government organization fostering cultural and scientific cooperation. The tit for tat expulsions were expected in retaliation for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s expulsion of 23 Russians earlier this week. But the shuttering of the Council, which is seen as a key outreach program by Britain, amounted to an escalation of the latest fallout between the two countries. A former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, was poisoned along with his daughter on British soil with a nerve agent that Western governments say must have come from Russia. Moscow summoned British ambassador Laurie Bristow on Saturday morning to announce the retaliatory measures before warning in a statement that further action could be taken against Britain if its government makes any more “unfriendly” moves toward Russia.
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