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  1. ITV Report

Russia expels 60 US diplomats in tit-for-tat response to Sergei Skripal poisoning measures

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says US had been informed of expulsions. Credit: PA

The White House has said Russia's expulsion of 60 American diplomats was "not unanticipated" and the US "will deal with it".

Russia kicked out the Americans in retaliation for the US expelling 60 Russian diplomats earlier in the week as punishment for Moscow's alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in Britain.

Nato allies and other US partners overseas also kicked out Russians.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said those actions were "an appropriate response" to the poisoning on British soil. She said Russia's move to retaliate "marks a further deterioration in the United States-Russia relationship".

The moves were announced by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said it was part of a "tough response" to US action over the spy poisoning case in the UK.

Mr Lavrov said that the US ambassador had been informed of the "retaliatory measures".

He said they included "the expulsion of the equivalent number of diplomats and our decision to withdraw permission for the functioning of the US consulate general in Saint Petersburg".

Yulia Skripal is now said to be in a 'stable condition', while her father, Sergei, remains 'critical'. Credit: PA

The Russian Minister also said Moscow was responding to "absolutely unacceptable actions that are taken against us under very harsh pressure from the United States and Britain under the pretext of the so-called Skripal case".

Mr Lavrov reiterated Russian calls for consular access to Yulia Skripal - a Russian citizen.

"I hope that Britain will be able to carry out its obligations under the consular convention and the Geneva Convention on Diplomatic Relations," he said.

Police were called by members of the public on March 4 after Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia were spotted slumped on a bench near the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury city centre.

Ms Skripal is said to be improving and is now described as stable.

Mr Skripal remains in a critical condition.

As a result of the attempted assassination the United States and more than 20 countries to expelled Russian diplomats over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

Vladimir Putin expelled a number of US diplomats in tit for tat fashion. Credit: PA

A total of 60 Russian officials were forced to leave the US while Moscow's consulate in Seattle was to be closed, the White House announced on Monday.

Germany, France, Canada and Ukraine were all confirmed as being among the nations to take similar measures.

Diplomatic relations between the West and Russia now lag at one of their lowest points in years.

  • US: 60
  • Ukraine: 13
  • Canada: 4
  • Germany: 4
  • France: 4
  • Poland: 4
  • Lithuania: 3
  • Czech Republic: 3
  • Netherlands: 2
  • Albania: 2
  • Estonia: 1
  • Italy: 2
  • Denmark: 2
  • Croatia: 1
  • Finland: 1
  • Romania: 1
  • Latvia: 1
  • Sweden: 1