British Prime Minister Theresa May has praised the “very strong response” by the United States, which ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats after Moscow was blamed for a nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy in Britain.
A Downing street statement says May spoke to President Donald Trump by phone, telling him that Britain welcomes the U.S. response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British town of Salisbury earlier this month.
The White House said “both leaders agreed on the importance of dismantling Russia’s spy networks in the United Kingdom and the United States to curtail Russian clandestine activities and prevent future chemical weapons attacks on either country’s soil.”
More than 20 other nations have joined the U.S. in ordering the expulsions of Russian diplomats. May said she welcomes “the breadth of international action in response to Russia’s reckless and brazen behavior.”
Russia has denied any involvement in the attack.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would respond to the U.S.-led moves within a week. He described the expulsion of his countries’ diplomats from Western countries as “boorish anti-Russian behavior” and said colossal blackmail “is now, unfortunately, the main tool of Washington on the international arena.”
Russia’s Ambassador to Australia Grigory Logvinov added Wednesday that if Western countries continue actions against Russia, then the world would be “deeply in a Cold War situation.”
VOA’s Jeff Seldin and Steve Herman contributed to this report.