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  1. ITV Report

Russia orders Britain to reduce its number of diplomats in Moscow

  • Video report: ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

The war of words between Moscow and London continued Friday when the Russian Foreign Ministry ordered Britain to reduce the number of its diplomats

The ministry justified the decision after “provocative and unsubstantiated actions by Britain, which instigated the expulsion of Russian diplomats from various nations for no reason.”

A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office commented on the Russian move saying, "it's regrettable but in light of Russia's previous behaviour, we anticipated a response."

The expulsion of diplomats has now reached a scale not seen since the height of the Cold War.

It was triggered after Britain accused Russia of using a military grade nerve agent in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.

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

Several countries including the United States, Germany and France expelled Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned ambassadors from these countries to announce retaliatory measures.