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Britons warned not to ‘discuss politics’ amid tensions

Those from the UK travelling to Russia have been warned they could face “anti-British sentiment or harassment” amid the growing tension between the two countries.

The Foreign Office has urged British nationals to “remain vigilant” in updated travel advice after Theresa May ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats on Wednesday.

It was issued as the Prime Minister looked to take action after reaching a stalemate with Russia following demands for Moscow to explain the use of a chemical weapon in Salisbury.

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Theresa May addresses the House of Commons on her government's reaction to the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia
Theresa May addressing the House of Commons following the nerve agent attack

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were targeted with a nerve agent and remain in a critical condition.

Thousands of football fans are expected to travel to Russia in June for the World Cup. Mrs May has said no ministers or members of the Royal Family will be attending the tournament.

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Forensic teams work at an address in Gillingham, Dorset as they remove a recovery truck used following the Salisbury nerve agent attack
Forensic teams in Gillingham, Dorset, as the investigation expands

The Foreign Office has warned Britons currently in Russia and those set to travel there in the coming weeks to “be aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment at this time” due to the “heightened political tensions between the UK and Russia”.

It added: “You’re advised to remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publicly on political developments.

“While the British Embassy in Moscow is not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia at this time, you should follow the security and political situation closely and keep up to date with this travel advice.”

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Bags of evidence at the back of Sergei Skripal's house in Salisbury

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Speaking of the expelled Russian diplomats in the House of Commons on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said it was the “single biggest expulsion for over 30 years and it will reflect the fact that this is not the first time the Russian state has acted against our country”.

She said Russia’s response had shown “complete disdain for the gravity of these events” with the country offering no explanation for the Russian-made novichok nerve agent used in the attack.

Russia’s foreign ministry said Mrs May’s comments were “an unprecedentedly crude provocation that undermines the foundations of a normal interstate dialogue between our countries”.

It said in a statement: “We consider it categorically unacceptable and unworthy that the British Government, in its unseemly political aims, further seriously aggravated relations, announcing a whole set of hostile measures, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the country.”

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