Russia has told Britain it must send home “just over 50” more of its diplomats in a worsening standoff with the West over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.
Russia has already retaliated in kind against Britain and ejected 23 British diplomats over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. London says Moscow stood behind the attack, something Russia denies.
British Ambassador Laurie Bristow was summoned again on Friday and told London had one month to cut its diplomatic contingent in Russia to the same size as the Russian mission in Britain.
Yulia Skripal’s condition has improved since she was poisoned earlier this month. British investigators found traces of nerve agent at the park where she was found and at the home of her father, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.(Facebook)
On Saturday, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Reuters that meant Britain would have to cut “a little over 50” of its diplomats in Russia.
“We asked for parity. The Brits have 50 diplomats more than the Russians,” said Zakharova.
When asked if that meant London would have to bring home exactly 50 diplomats, she said: “A little over 50.”
Meanwhile, the British government is considering allowing visits to Yulia Skripal in hospital.
Former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal is shown during a court proceeding in Moscow in 2006.(Yuri Senatorov/Kommersant/AFP/Getty Images)
“We are considering requests for consular access in line with our obligations under international and domestic law, including the rights and wishes of Yulia Skripal,” a spokesperson for Britain’s foreign ministry in London said.
The Russian Embassy in London said in a tweet on Friday that “we insist on the right to see” Skripal, a Russian citizen.