Saturday, 31 March 2018

Russia: London Aeroflot plane search ‘latest provocation’

Russia claims UK authorities searched one of their planes at a London airport in what they called the “latest provocation”.

The Metropolitan police denied the force had inspected an airbus that had landed at Heathrow having departed from Moscow.

It said: “We are aware of a story circulating on social media. Please be advised that Metropolitan Police are not conducting a search of an Airbus inbound from Moscow at Heathrow.”

Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said British authorities did not state a reason for the search of the Aeroflot plane, which she called “the latest provocation.”

She claims the jet was searched at a London airport.

The news comes as Russia continues to expel foreign diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to countries across the world sending home Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain following the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

Russia faces mass expulsions of its diplomatic staff around the world, with more than 150 sent back from 25 countries, and NATO.

Britain’s ambassador to Russia was been summoned to the country’s foreign ministry for talks – as were ambassadors from other nations, including Germany, Italy, Poland and France.

Laurie Bristow confirmed the UK had been given one month to cut its diplomatic mission to Russia to the same size as the Russian mission to Britain.

He said: “It is important to remember why this crisis has arisen in the first place.

“It’s the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of the United Kingdom that has threatened the lives of a number of people in my country. We asked certain questions of the Russian state and have not received adequate answers.”

Ms Skripal is understood to be conscious and talking having been poisoned with novichok while visiting her father in Salisbury.

Police are treating the attack as attempted murder.

Mr Skripal, a former Russian spy, has been in a critical condition since 4 March.

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