London (CNN) – The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats from the country after concluding that the Russian state is responsible for the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil, a step that marks a serious escalation of hostilities between London and Moscow.
This will be the single biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats in more than 30 years, Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday, as she set out a raft of measures intended to target Russian assets and strengthen UK defenses.
The 23 diplomats, who May said had been identified as undeclared intelligence agents, will have only one week to leave.
“For those who seek to do us harm, my message is simple. You are not welcome here,” she said in a statement to the House of Commons following a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council.
The expulsion of diplomats will “fundamentally degrade Russian intelligence capability in the UK for years to come,” May said. All planned high-level bilateral contacts will also be suspended, she said.
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