MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the nerve agent attack on an Russian ex-spy in Britain (all times local):
The Russian Foreign Ministry says Moscow will retaliate shortly to the Russian diplomats’ expulsions over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain.
The ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Thursday the Russian response will come “in the nearest time.”
Two dozen countries, including the U.S. and many EU nations, have ordered more than 150 Russian diplomats out this week in a show of solidarity with Britain. Zakharova said the expulsions came after “colossal” pressure from Washington and London, adding that the nations that succumbed to it “made a grave mistake.”
She denounced Britain’s assertion that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter as a “swindle” and an “international provocation.”
Zakharova insisted that Moscow is demanding access to materials of the investigation.
British health officials say the daughter of a Russian ex-spy has responded well to treatment and is no longer in critical condition after a nerve-agent attack.
Yulia Skripal’s father Sergei remains in critical condition.
Salisbury NHS Trust, which oversees the hospital where the pair are being treated, says 33-year-old Yulia is “improving rapidly and is no longer in a critical condition. Her condition is now stable.”
Medical director Dr. Christine Blanshard says “she has responded well to treatment but continues to receive expert clinical care 24 hours a day.”
Yulia Skripal and her father, an ex-spy, were found unconscious in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.
British authorities say they were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent and have blamed Russia. Moscow denies involvement in the attack, which has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West.
The former Soviet republic of Georgia says it will expel a Russia diplomat in solidarity with Britain over the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy.
Thursday’s announcement follows the expulsion of more than 150 Russian diplomats by European Union nations, the United States, NATO and other countries in response to the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Russia following a brief war in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Russian diplomats have been operating out of the special interests section of the Swiss embassy in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, since 2009.
Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the diplomat has been declared persona non grata and must leave within a week. The ministry condemned the poisoning, calling it a “serious challenge to common security.”