'Britain today plunged into a the gravest battle with Russia since the Cold War as Theresa May unveiled a hardline response to the "reckless and despicable" attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal.
The Prime Minister announced 23 of Russia's 58 London diplomats would be expelled as she condemned the nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury.
"They have just one week to leave," she declared in a damning House of Commons statement. "This will be the biggest single expulsion for 30 years.
UK ministers and the Royal Family will also boycott the World Cup; Britain will look into new counter-espionage powers; checks on flights will be increased; and Russian assets will be frozen if they are used in a bid to threaten life or property.
Mrs May said: "Through these expulsions we will fundamentally degrade Russian intelligence capability in the UK for years to come. And if they seek to rebuild it, we will prevent them from doing so."
Moscow flagrantly ignored a deadline of midnight last night to explain how Skripal, 66, his daughter Yulia, 33, and bystanders including DS Nick Bailey were hit with Novichok .
Mrs May firmly declared the attack was an "unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK", and warned Russia has an "undeclared chemical weapons programme in contravention of international law."
"They have treated the use of a military grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance," Mrs May told MPs.'
Read more: Britain EXPELS 23 Russian diplomats over nerve agent attack plunging into worst battle with Moscow since Cold War
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14 June 2018
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