- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Russian branch of the British Council, the U.K. institution promoting British language and culture in more than 100 countries around the world, is the latest casualty of the clash sparked by the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy who was living in England.

British Council officials Thursday confirmed that they were told to cease operations in Russia, after having operated in Moscow continuously since 1959, in the depths of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

British Council officials said they were “profoundly disappointed” at the directive issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“It is our view that when political or diplomatic relations become difficult, cultural relations and educational opportunities vital to maintain ongoing dialogue between people and institutions,” the Council said in a statement on its website Thursday.

The shutdown comes on the same day that British Prime Minister Theresa May was traveling to Brussels to rally European Union support for a condemnation of the March 4 attack that left ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter fighting for their lives. The two were exposed to a rare nerve gas developed as part of a Soviet weapons program.



The Kremlin has sharply denied British government charges that it was behind the attack. Dozens of diplomats from both countries have been expelled in the wake of the attack and the charges.

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