The Russian foreign ministry said the UK staff would be expelled from Moscow within a week in response to Britain’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats.
It also said it would close the British Council in Russia, which promotes cultural ties between the nations, and the British Consulate in St Petersburg.
Theresa May has warned the Kremlin that Britain will not be cowed by its decision to expel 23 British diplomats in an escalation of the dispute following the Salisbury attack.
Responding to President Putin’s decision to escalate diplomatic tensions, Mrs May told a gathering of Conservative Party members that his antics would not distract from the fact that Russia was “in flagrant breach of international law.”
Speaking at the Conservative Spring Forum in London, Mrs May said Russia’s response, which includes shutting down the British Council, did not “change the facts of the matter”.
Russia’s tit-for-tat expulsion was widely expected. But the shuttering of the UK consulate in St Petersburg and the British Council cultural organisation went beyond Theresa May’s measures against Russia, escalating the diplomatic spat.
The Russian foreign ministry said the move was a “response to the provocative actions of the British side and baseless accusations of the Russian Federation relating to the Salisbury incident”. It warned the UK against “further actions of an unfriendly nature”.