Russia expels the British Council

The Kremlin has ordered the closure of the British Council office in Russia. The move comes in retaliation of Britain's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats following the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The British government believes Russia is 'highly likely' to be behind the attack, carried out with a nerve agent linked to Russia's intelligence services.

As well as banning the UK's cultural operations in Russia, 23 British diplomats have been ordered to leave the country.

The British Council said in a statement 'We are profoundly disappointed at this development. It is our view that when political or diplomatic relations become difficult, cultural relations and educational opportunities are vital to maintain on-going dialogue between people and institutions.'

Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal remain in hospital.

19 March 2018