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Expelled Russian diplomats to leave UK on Tuesday

March 20, 4:14 UTC+3 LONDON

Around 80 people are expected to leave

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LONDON, March 20. /TASS/. Russian diplomats expelled from the United Kingdom will fly out from London on Tuesday.

A source in diplomatic circles told TASS that 23 Russian diplomats and members of their families are going to travel to Moscow on a special flight operated by Aeroflot. In total, together with family members, around 80 people are expected to leave the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom earlier announced plans to expel 23 Russian diplomats amid a serious diplomatic spat in relations between Moscow and London caused by the incident in Salisbury.

On March 4, ex-intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury after being exposed to a nerve agent. Both are in hospital in critical condition.

The UK accused Russia of involvement, but failed to present any evidence. UK Prime Minister Theresa May on March 14 accused Russia of "an unlawful use of force" against her country. She said that 23 Russian diplomats would be expelled from the country within one week and that all planned high-level bilateral contacts had been suspended.

On Saturday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced that 23 British diplomats were declared persona non grata and would be expelled within a week. Moreover, the British Consulate General in St. Petersburg is due to be closed and the British Council would stop operating in Russia.

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