Donald Trump exits the stage following a rally in Cedar Rapids Iowa

Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko has called Prime Minister Theresa May's order to expel some 23 Russian diplomatic staff "absolutely unacceptable" and a "provocation".

Following the Salisbury incident, the British government has also pledged to re-examine 14 deaths on United Kingdom soil following a report that they could have been carried out by Moscow or the Russian mafia.

And it said it had halted the activities of the British Council, Britain's global organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, across the country.

It ordered the diplomats to leave within a week.

"We will never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens and others on British soil from the Russian Government".

Russia's foreign ministry slams London's "choice for confrontation", adding that retaliation will follow shortly.

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On March 13 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Moscow is "not guilty" of the poisoning and is ready to cooperate with London.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who was part of the initial response to the incident, remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital after being exposed to the chemical.

The national security council will meet early next week to consider the "next steps".

"This act of Russian aggression is the very antithesis of the liberal and democratic values that define the United Kingdom", she said.

In an urgent meeting called by the UK Ms Haley told the Security Council the U.S. believes "Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent".

The representatives of Russia's Foreign Ministry added that the British Council is not anymore functioning in Russian Federation.

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Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russian Federation had halted all chemical weapons research after joining the Chemical Weapons Convention that came into force in 1997, and completed the destruction of its stockpiles previous year.

May announced two days ago that the diplomats, identified as "undeclared intelligence agents", had one week to leave the country in what represents the biggest expulsion of diplomats in over 30 years.

"We will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves", the ambassador told reporters, according to Reuters.

"In its blatant Russian-ness, the nerve agent sends a signal to all who may be thinking of dissent in the intensifying repression of Putin's Russia", he said. Russia's Investigative Committee opened a criminal case Friday into Yulia Skripal's attempted murder.

"We have no disagreement with the people of Russia and we continue to believe it is not in our national interest to break off all dialogue between our countries but the onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions and to comply with their global obligations".

In a dramatic twist Friday, London's Metropolitan Police said that the death of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov, who was found dead Monday in his London home, was now being treated as murder. The closure of the consulate in St. Petersburg was not given a firm deadline, with the Foreign Ministry saying only that consulate employees will be given sufficient time to finish their work.

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