Russian media accuses May of 'poisoning' ties

British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Niklas Halle'n, AFP)
British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Niklas Halle'n, AFP)

Moscow – Russian media on Thursday accused British Prime Minister Theresa May of having "poisoned" relations with Moscow by announcing the expulsion of diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former double agent with a nerve agent.

"Theresa May has poisoned relations between London and Moscow," Nezavisimaya Gazeta headlined its front-page story.

Kommersant business daily accused Britain of seeking "toxic responses".

"The crisis in relations between Moscow and London has reached a new peak," it said.

May "tried to accuse Russia of every sin under the Sun," wrote popular pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Another pro-Kremlin daily, broadsheet Izvestia, wrote that Russia will respond "at least in a symmetrical way" to the expulsions, meaning it would expel the same number of diplomats.

But "Russia's reaction could be also be more wide-reaching," it predicted, citing diplomatic sources.

"Await a response," Izvestia headlined its story.

"A seemingly emerging warming in relations with London has turned into a long-lasting frost," wrote popular daily Moskovsky Komsomolets.

But it predicted that "Russia can bear it all without bowing down".

'Poisoned with a nerve agent'

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found in a serious condition in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

British experts say the pair were poisoned with a nerve agent which was developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

May on Wednesday in parliament announced a number of moves including the expulsion of 23 diplomats and the suspension of high-level contacts with Russia.

Russia's foreign ministry slammed the measures as an "unprecedentedly rude provocation".

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