Russia has summoned more than 50 of its diplomats to go to Britain in the midst of a growing dispute over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and daughter in the UK. [1
But now the Russians insist that more British diplomats should go.
It says that the British and Russian diplomatic missions should be the same size in every country.
That would mean that at least 27 British officials will be sent home, reports BBC spokesman Paul Adams from Moscow.
The British government accuses Russia of nerve-racking Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Moscow denies that.
On Friday, British Ambassador to Moscow, Laurie Bristow, was told Britain had one month to reduce its diplomatic mission in Russia to the same size as the Russian mission in Britain.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Reuters news agency Britain had to cut "just over 50" of its diplomats in Russia.
"We asked for parity," she said.
Around 150 Russians were expelled, mainly from Western countries, as their governments had gathered behind Britain.
Russia first struck back in the UK, but then announced 60 US expulsions. On Friday, a number of foreign ambassadors were informed with news that the policies of their own countries coincide.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal collapsed on March 4 in Salisbury, southern England. Mr. Skripal remains in a critical but stable state. Yulia's condition should improve.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a warning on Thursday "of a situation that is very much in line with what we lived during the Cold War".
Russia Re-Elects Britain
By Paul Adams, BBC News, Moscow
British diplomats left Moscow a week ago, but Ambassador Laurie Bristow was recalled to the Foreign Ministry for additional punishment.
It is clear that Russia considers Britain the leader of an international conspiracy that has led to the largest mass evasion of Russian diplomats in history.
Britain's "provocative and unjustified actions," according to the ministry, "inspired the unfounded expulsion of Russian diplomats."
It is a sneaky compliment to Prime Minister Theresa May, who has successfully circled a broader international coalition than anyone would have thought possible a month ago.
Russia has opposed the British government for its efforts to internationalize the so-called "Skripal affair". The solidarity expressed by so many countries has been rejected as a result of financial and political pressure staged jointly with the US.
Which other countries are involved?
29 countries have 145 Russian officials solidarized the United Kingdom – and NATO has also ordered 10 Russians from their mission in Belgium.
The US expelled the single largest number – 60 diplomats – and closed the Consulate General in Seattle.
Russia said Thursday that 58 US diplomats in Moscow and two in Yekaterinburg are personae non gratae. It also announced the closure of the US Consulate in St. Petersburg.
The US said they had awaited the step and warned that it could take further action.
On Friday, ambassadors from Albania, Australia, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania Spain, Sweden and Ukraine were asked to send home personnel from their missions – the same number of Russians who had expelled their countries.
A statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry also said that Russia "reserves the right to retaliate" against Belgium, Hungary, Georgia and Montenegro – countries that joined the coordinated action against Russia at the last moment "
What is Russia's argument?
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has "the harsh pressure of the United States and Britain under the pretext of the so-called Skripal case. He repeated the Russian demands for consular access to Yulia Skripal – a Russian citizen – the UK Foreign Office says it judges it "in line with our obligations under international and national law, including the rights and wishes of Julia Skripal. "
Russia, according to Lavrov, also sought a meeting with leaders of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OVCW) to" find the truth "
On Friday, the British Ambassador received a protest in addition to the new expulsions from the West said that Britain's "provocative actions" led to the decision of other governments to expel Russians.
British security adviser Mark Sedwill said that expulsions by Western countries aim to eradicate covert Russian intelligence networks.
What do we know about the nervous struggle?
The chemical used in the attack was part of a group of neurotoxins developed by the Soviet Union under the name Novichok.
The OPCW has dispatched a team to Britain to investigate samples of the agent that Britain claims to have used
Police say the scripts at Mr Skripal's home in Salisbury are the first time using the nerve cells have been found, with the highest concentration was found on the front door.