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UK not planning to toughen visa issuance for Russians — embassy in Moscow

March 14, 17:00 UTC+3

UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday declared measures against Russia over the poisoning of former colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate Sergey Skripal

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© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. The UK is not planning to toughen visa issuance for Russian citizens, the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Moscow told TASS on Wednesday.

"We are not regarding this issue from this perspective," the source said in response to a TASS question.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday, in which she declared measures against Russia over the poisoning of former colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate Sergey Skripal. In particular, she said, London would expel 23 Russian diplomats: they were ordered to leave the country within a week. May also accused Russia of the illegal use of force against the UK and declared a suspension of scheduled high-level bilateral contacts. She noted that the end of dialogue with Moscow does not respond to the British national interests.

On March 4, ex-intelligence officer Sergey Skripal, aged 66, and his daughter Yulia, aged 33, came into contact with a nerve agent and were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury; they are staying in the hospital in a critical condition. In 2004, Skripal was arrested by the Federal Security Service and later sentenced to 13 years in prison for state treason. In 2010, the former colonel was transferred to the US during an exchange of people arrested on espionage charges and moved to the UK the same year.

On March 12, UK Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of being behind this incident, calling it an irresponsible action against the United Kingdom. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a Novichok-type military-grade nerve agent designed in the Soviet Union, she said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on March 13 that Russia has no relation to the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter. "We already made a statement that this all is nonsense, and we have no relation to it." He also noted that Russia did not receive from the UK an inquiry over the agent allegedly used in the Salisbury incident.

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