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Nigeria

UK ministers, royal family to boycott W’Cup

No ministers or members of the Royal Family will go to World Cup finals in Russia this summer, British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced, Skysports reports.

May made the announcement during Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last week.

May said the nerve agent used to poison  Skripal was developed in Russia and she considers Russia as highly likely to be behind the attack.

As the president of the FA, the Duke of Cambridge has been a regular at England’s World Cup games along with his brother Prince Harry at recent tournaments but neither will travel to Russia.

“There will be no attendance by ministers – or indeed members of the Royal Family – at this summer’s World Cup in Russia,” May told parliament, as she announced the suspension of high-level bilateral ties between London and Moscow.

“The Russian state was culpable of the attempted murder.

“Many of us looked at a post-Soviet Russia with hope. We wanted a better relationship and it is tragic that President Putin has chosen to act in this way.”

The Prime Minister chose to impose retaliatory measures, which included expelling 23 Russian diplomats, after Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to respond to her deadline to explain the attack.

The diplomats “have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers,” May said, giving them one week to leave the UK in the “single biggest expulsion for over 30 years”.

Skripal worked as a double agent for Britain, until his arrest in Russia in 2004.

Russia’s embassy in London put out a statement in response, condemning the punitive measures by the British government.

“We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted. All the responsibility for the deterioration of the Russia-UK relationship lies with the current political leadership of Britain,” the statement said.

The FA issued a statement saying they would be working with the government regarding participation at the World Cup.

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