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Russia says it will expel
23 British diplomats.
The move is one of the measures
in response to Britain's decision
to throw out the same number
of Russian officials
following the nerve agent
attack in Salisbury.
In the last hour, Theresa May says
Russia's response doesn't change
the facts of what happened.
Our correspondent, Sarah Rainsford,
is live in Moscow now.
That's right, we have heard more
strong language from Theresa May
today describing the poisoning in
Salisbury is an act of Russian
aggression. That is not how it looks
to officials here in Moscow, who
have been accusing the UK of Risse
phobia, and also saying that Russia
is innocent, insisting on Russia's
innocence and saying the UK is
guilty itself of an act of
provocation. -- guilty of
Moscow took its time to respond.
Three days after the expulsion of
Russian diplomats, the British
ambassador here was summoned to the
Foreign Ministry. The meeting lasted
just minutes as officials handed
over a list of names and informed
Britain of the additional measures
Russia was taking. The ambassador
emerged to underline why relations
with Russia have plummeted to this
We will always do what is
necessary to defend ourselves, our
allies, and our values against an
attack of this sort, which is an
attack not only on the United
Kingdom, but upon the international
rules-based system upon which all
countries, including Russia, depend
for their safety and security.
The Russian sanctions
were then made public.
The decision to expel 23 British
diplomats was expected,
after Britain expelled 23 Russians
from the embassy in London.
Shutting down the British Consulate
in Russia's second city
of St Petersburg, though,
is an extra step.
And the British Council,
which fosters cultural
and educational ties
with the Russian people, will now be
forced to end all activity here.
Targeting the British Council will
affect Russian citizens, though, not
their government. It helps stage
British cultural events here, and
promotes language learning. Its work
was restricted, though, a decade ago
after the last crisis over the
poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.
Now Sergei Skripal, another former
Russian spy, has been poisoned, this
time by a nerve agent. Theresa May
has blamed Russia directly.
attempted assassination of two
people on British soil, for which
there is no alternative conclusion
other than that the Russian state
was culpable. It is Russia that is
in flagrant breach of international
law and the chemical weapons
The response by the Foreign Ministry
here in Moscow is robust,
and it does go beyond the measures
announced in the UK.
But given the mood and the language
here in recent days,
Moscow might have gone even further.
Officials here called the poisoning
in Salisbury a provocation.
And they say comments linking
Vladimir Putin directly to attempted
murder are unforgivable.
But this row could yet escalate.
Moscow will continue to deny
everything, and officials here
warned they are ready to impose
further sanctions and match any
moves made by the UK. Sarah
Raynsford, BBC News, Moscow.
Well, our Diplomatic Correspondent,
James Robbins, is with me now.
James, what's likely to happen next?
Theresa May has made clear that
Britain's response to this Russian
action, any action that Britain
might take in retaliation, will only
be decided after a meeting of the
National Security Council next week.
The council normally meets on
Tuesday. It could be changed, but
that's normal. We will wait to see
what they decide. On one level, this
is a tit-for-tat expulsion of 23,
the same number as was expelled from
London. On the other hand, it has
gone further with the consulate
closure in Saint Petersburg. Perhaps
most important of all in some
respects, the closure of British
Council operations in Russia. That
is the scientific, cultural and
educational soft power department,
if you like, agency. It teaches
thousands upon thousands of Russians
English through its classes. It has
a lot of outreach and is seen as a
real way of spreading Britain's idea
of democratic values across Russia.
That's quite a serious blow. I think
because of those extra moves, we
will have to wait and see whether
Britain things it has to go a little
bit further in its action.
Robbins, thank you very much indeed.
Police have launched a murder
investigation after two women
were shot and killed at a house
in East Sussex.
Officers responded to reports
of a shooting at an address
in St Leonards-on-Sea last night.
Two other women - including
one who is pregnant -
were taken to hospital
suffering from shock.
A 35-year-old man has been arrested
on suspicion of murder.
Forecasters say snow
could cause further
problems across swathes
of the UK this weekend.
Amber weather warnings have
been issued in parts
of England and Wales.
More than 70 flights have been
cancelled at Heathrow.
Live now to our correspondent
Sarah Walton, who's at Ainley Top
in West Yorkshire.
Battling the wind there, Sarah!
that's right. The snow has been
falling in flurries throughout the
morning. Another little one is
starting now. It's lying on high
ground in places like here in West
Yorkshire. We are being warned this
is just the beginning and conditions
will get worse through the
afternoon, tonight and into tomorrow
morning. Those Amber weather
warnings mean that many places will
get about three centimetres of snow,
but there could be 10-15 centimetres
over the hills, and that will come
with strong winds. We are feeling
that a bit right now, but gusts of
70 mph predicted later and that
could cause problems. Blizzard
conditions and even some drifting
snow. Highways England warning
drivers to take extra care and leave
yourself extra time if you are
heading out on a journey. West
Yorkshire Police here asking drivers
to avoid roads over the Pennines and
high ground, we have already seen
closures and gritters out across the
county. We told the cold snap will
not last as long as three weeks ago.
It should be back to normal
temperature is for this time of year
by Tuesday. But before it gets
better, with those weather it will
You have been warned.
The former FBI deputy
director, Andrew McCabe,
has accused the Trump administration
of acting with political malice
after he was fired just days before
he was due to retire.
An internal review said that
Mr McCabe leaked information
and misled investigators -
claims that he has denied.
President Trump called his sacking
a great day for democracy.
Our Washington correspondent,
Chris Buckler, reports.
As deputy director, Andrew McCabe
was heavily involved in some
of the FBI's most controversial
and politically contentious
And it's one of those enquiries
that's led to his dismissal.
In 2016, as Hillary Clinton
was running for president,
she was being investigated
because of questions about e-mails
she received on a private server
while she was US Secretary of State.
Mr McCabe authorised information
to be given to the media.
Something the Department of Justice
said he was not entitled to do.
And an internal FBI investigation
found he had not been completely
honest when asked about it.
Firing him, the US Attorney General
Jeff Sessions said: "The FBI expects
every employee to adhere
to the highest standards of honesty,
integrity and accountability."
But Andrew McCabe says he's been
sacked for political reasons,
and he claims that President Trump
brought much of that pressure.
In a lengthy statement,
he accused the White House
of declaring war on both the FBI
and the special counsel's
investigation into allegations
of Russian interference
in the election two years ago.
It's less than a year
since his boss - the former FBI
director James Comey -
was fired by President Trump.
And Mr McCabe claims
what he witnessed then was another
reason for his dismissal.
Andrew McCabe had served more
than 20 years in the FBI.
But just over 24 hours
before his retirement
and his 50th birthday,
he's been sacked in the full
glare of publicity.
Chris Buckler, BBC News, Washington.
With all the sport,
here's John Acres at
the BBC Sport Centre.
Starting with rugby...
We've reached the climax of this
year's Six Nations Championship.
Three matches today,
including a huge game at Twickenham.
Ireland are looking to complete
the Grand Slam, but England
have a record to defend.
Our sports correspondent
Joe Wilson is there.
And Joe, this is a hard
one to call, isn't it?
A huge game for both teams for
think so, John. The first thing I
saw when I came in to Twickenham
this morning was an advert for cold
beer. I think it's very much a hot
chocolate kind of day. You might be
able to see the pitch markings
behind me, the lines painted blue,
very unusual to see that, but it's
in anticipation of more snowfall
here today. Ireland come here
knowing that whatever happens in
this game they are the Six Nations
champions and will be paraded around
Twickenham with the trophy. But what
lies ahead possibly for them is a
rarity, a precious Grand Slam,
perfect Six Nations. They have only
done that twice ever. They come into
the game on a record of consecutive
wins, with continuity and
confidence. In contrast, England
have back-to-back defeats. They have
picked a team by their own
admission, just to try to win this
game, recalling players just try to
beat Ireland in the match. Remember,
just a few weeks ago England were
talking about Eddie Jones being gone
a long-term contract and building to
the World Cup, continuity, but the
future for them is just trying to
get through this game. England
suddenly need the oxygen of victory.
And let's say, before the game
starts, from both sides.
aware of the significance it has for
Irish rugby and this group of
players. But, yes, there's nervous
energy, but it's very exciting. You
want to pick yourself against the
No team is perfect in
the world. Rugby is an imperfect
game. Every team has a certain area
of weaknesses, and we have to be
good enough to exploit those areas
The first game of the
day is already under way. How
Scotland getting along against
Knowing the way Scotland have
played through this Six Nations,
which is fast and loose, perhaps we
shouldn't be surprised that have
been tries galore already in Rome.
Two of them for Italy before
Scotland could respond. Its seven --
it's 17-12 a few minutes ago as they
approach half-time. Scotland playing
a brave and risky type of rugby, but
if they can come away with a win
from Italy, and a bonus point
victory, they will look back on this
Six Nations with some satisfaction.
Wales are in pole position to finish
second going into their five BM
kick-off against France. And the
French have some confidence of their
own after beating the English last
ParalympicsGB are still one short
of their medal target,
after the penultimate day
of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
Scott Meenagh finished 14th
in the cross country event and
James Whitley was
10th in the slalom.
Britain have won five medals so far,
all in the visually impaired skiing,
and the three British pairs
will race again tomorrow.
Tottenham are leading Swansea 2-0
at half-time in the first
of the day's FA Cup quarterfinals.
Christian Eriksen put them ahead
after just 11 minutes.
Erik Lamela doubled their lead
just before half time.
The odds are definitely stacked
in Tottenham's favour.
They're unbeaten in their last 15
games against Swansea -
that's a run going back to 1991.
That's all the sport for now.
Back to you.
The next news on BBC One
is at the later than usual time
of 7:00pm this evening.