Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday ordered “a little over 50” more British diplomats out of the country just hours after expelling diplomats from 23 countries, fanning the flames of a diplomatic feud over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. The countries that dared to back Britain in a coordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats have been hit with retaliatory expulsions, with France, Germany, Canada and Poland each having four of their diplomats booted. Ukraine, the Netherlands, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Finland, Lithuania and Norway were also hit with tit-for-tat expulsions, less than two days after 60 U.S. diplomats were ordered out. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Reuters that Britain would have to cut just over 50 more of its diplomatic staff, in addition to the 23 already kicked out. The move—the most drastic retaliatory wave of expulsions in recent memory—came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow’s response to recent diplomatic expulsions by the West would “not only” be symmetrical. Britain has accused the Kremlin of involvement in the March 4 poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, who are believed to have been poisoned with a nerve agent experts say is only produced in Russia.
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