good afternoon. 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 line which ran theresa may today describing the poisoning in salisbury as an act of russian aggression. but of course, that is not how it looks to officials here in moscow, who have been accusing the uk of russophobia, saying russia is innocent and saying that the uk is innocent and saying that the uk is itself guilty of an act of provocation. moscow took its time to respond. three days after london announced the expulsion of russian diplomats,
britain's ambassador here was summoned to the foreign ministry. the meeting inside 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 new low. 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 of this sort, which is an attack not only on the united kingdom, but upon the international rules—based system on 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 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, anotherformer russian spy, has been poisoned, this time bya russian spy, has been poisoned, this time by a nerve agent. theresa may has blamed russia directly. the attempted assassination of two people on british soil, for which there was 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 convention. the response by the foreign ministry here in moscow is robust and it does go beyond the measures announced in the uk. given the mood and the language here in recent days, moscow might have gone even further. officials here call
the poisoning in salisbury a provocation, and they say comments linking vladimir putin directly to attempted murder were unforgivable. but this row could yet escalate. moscow will continue to deny everything, and officials here warn that they are ready to impose further sanctions and that 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 and 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. that is the norm, so we will wait to see what they decide. at 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 that consulate closure in st
petersburg and perhaps most important of all in some respects, the closure of british council operations in russia. the british council is the scientific, cultural, educational software our department, if you like, the agency which teaches thousands of russians english through its classes. it does a lot of outreach and is seen as a real way of spreading britain's idea of democratic values across russia. so that is a serious blow. and because of those extra moves, we will have to see whether britain thinks it has to go a bit further in its action. james, thanks. 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, sarah? that is right. the snow has been falling in slurry is all morning and it is lying on high ground in places like here in west yorkshire. we are being warned that this is just the beginning and the conditions are going to 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 ten to 15 centimetres over the hills, and that will come with strong winds. gusts of 70 mph are predicted later, and that could cause problems. blizzard conditions, even drifting snow. highways england are warning drivers to ta ke highways england are warning drivers to take extra care. leave yourself
extra time if you have to head out. west yorkshire police are asking drivers to avoid roads over the pennines. we have already seen some closures and lots of gritters out across the county ‘s. we are being told that this cold snap will not last as long as the beast from the east a few weeks ago. we should be back to normal temperatures for this time of year by tuesday. but before it gets any better, it is going to get worse! 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 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 investigations. and it's one of those inquiries 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 when she was the us secretary of state. mr mccabe authorised information to be given to the media, something the department ofjustice 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 generaljeff sessions said: but andrew mccabe says he has 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 directorjames 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, butjust over 2a hours before his retirement and his 50th birthday, he has 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. 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? absolutely. the first thing i saw when i came into took on this morning was an advert for cold beer.
i think is very much a hot chocolate kind of day! you may be able to see some of the pitch markings behind me. the lines are painted blue, which is unusual, but that is clearly in anticipation of more snowfall today. ireland come here knowing that they are six nations champions. they will be parading around with the trophy. the possibility is that rarity, a perfect six nations. they have only done that twice ever and they come into this game on a record of consecutive wins with continuity. in contrast, england have had back—to—back defeats and they have picked a team, by their own admission, just to try and win this game, recalling players just admission, just to try and win this game, recalling playersjust to admission, just to try and win this game, recalling players just to try and beat ireland in this match. only a few weeks ago, england were talking about eddie jones a few weeks ago, england were talking about eddiejones being on a long term contract, building towards the world cup. the future for them is just trying to get through this game. england suddenly need the
oxygen game. england suddenly need the oxyg e n of game. england suddenly need the oxygen of victory. before the game starts, let's hear from oxygen of victory. before the game starts, let's hearfrom both sides. everyone is aware of the significance it has for irish rugby and this group of players. there is nervous energy, but it's also very exciting. you want to pitch yourself against the best teams. nothing is perfect in the world. rugby is an imperfect game, so every team has certain 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 against italy? well, knowing the way scotland have played through the six nations, which is fast and loose, we shouldn't be surprised that there have been tries galore already. it 17-12 a fixer moments ao. that was 17—12 a few moments ago. that game is stilljust nearing the end
of the first half. scotland have tried to play this brave and risky kind of rugby. if they can come away from rome with a win and a bonus point victory, i'm sure they will be able to look back on their six nations with some degree of satisfaction. that is the issue for wales and france as well. wales is in pole position to finish second before they go into their five kick—off against france in cardiff. remember, the french suddenly have some confidence of their own after beating the english last weekend. thank you, joe. 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 i—0 at half—time in the first of the day's fa cup quarter—finals. christian eriksen put them ahead after just 11 minutes.
and then erik lamela doubled their lead. 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. you can see more on all of today's stories on the bbc news channel. the next news on bbc one is at the later than usual time of seven o'clock this evening. goodbye. you're watching the bbc news channel. more now on oui’ main story this lunchtime. addressing the conservative party spring forum, the prime minister has said the government expected moscow to react in the way it did, by expelling 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 her speech, theresa may said the government will consider
the uk's next steps "in the coming days" and that britain will never tolerate a threat to anyone on british soil. i set out in the house of commons this week the government's conclusion that the russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of mr skripal and his daughter, and for threatening the lives of other british citizens. i also set out the action we are taking in response, action to dismantle the russian espionage network in the uk, to develop new powers to tackle hostile state activity and the suspension of all plant high—level contact between the uk and the russian federation. today, our ambassador in moscow was informed by the russian government of the action they are taking in response. in light of their previous behaviour, we anticipated a response
of this kind, and we will consider oui’ of this kind, and we will consider our next steps in the coming days. but russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter, the attempted assassination of two people on british soil for which there was no alternative conclusion other than the russian state was culpable. it is russia that is in flag ra nt culpable. it is russia that is in flagrant breach of international law and the chemical weapons convention. i repeat today that we have no disagreement with the russian people. many russians have made this country their home, and those who abide by our laws and make a contribution to our society will a lwa ys contribution to our society will always be welcome. but we will never tolerate a threat to the life of british citizens and others on british citizens and others on british soilfrom british citizens and others on british soil from the russian government. applause. we can be reassured by the
strong support we have received from oui’ strong support we have received from our friends strong support we have received from ourfriends and strong support we have received from our friends and allies around the world, from the united states, nato and the european union, from cao yuan and commonwealth partners. i am also grateful for the strong support i have received from the first ministers of scotland and wales, and in the house of commons this week, we saw a consensus as member after member of the opposition parties stood up to support her majesty's government. because this act of russian aggression is the very antithesis of the liberal and democratic values that define the united kingdom. the labour leader, jeremy corbyn, has been addressing party faithfuls at their north east regional conference at newcastle university. speaking after his address he gave his reaction to what's
being described as the tit—for—tat retaliation by russia and described the attack in salisbury as abominable and appalling... we have to have relations with governments. therefore, there has to bea limit governments. therefore, there has to be a limit to how far you go with that. clearly, there has to be a relationship where we can talk to the russian government. i challenge the russian government. i challenge the russian government on human rights in russia, on lgbt rights, on chechnya and much of its foreign policy. does that mean we don't talk to them? absolutely not. we have to talk to them and assert all of those values. boris johnson yesterday named putin has been responsible. do you think it is wise for the foreign secretary to antagonise russians by naming putin as the culprit? the basis of any assertion or allegation has to be based on evidence. i would be very interested if the foreign secretary has evidence that wasn't revealed during the week by the
prime minister in two statements to the house of commons. i think we need cool heads. we need people that are going to be serious about this and not shoot from the hip. you say that, but there are many members of your party who are saying you should be more direct on this, basically unequivocally backing the prime minister and saying russia are culpable. i have been very direct on this. it's wrong, it's appalling, it's murder. the origins of the nerve gas appear to be russian. therefore, the challenge has to be to the russian government. but also, we and the russian government are both signed up to an international chemical weapons convention. make those conventions work so we rid the world of chemical and biological weapons. how much do you regret that your stance on russia seems to be dividing your party again? it's not dividing your party again? it's not dividing the party. i'm here today
at the northern region conference. great support for what i said. the guardian article i put out has had enormous support around the country. yes, one or two people have misinterpreted what i said, like some of the mainstream media. i have been very clear on my position in this. i want to live in a world of peace. i want to live in a world where we do not see the use of chemical or biological weapons. that's why we are part of that convention and by the way, the origins of the chemical weapons convention go back to the first world war in 1925. their use is abominable and appalling. joining me is nick eardley. there are differences between the parties and possibly within the labour party. yes, i don't think everybody in the labour party has been com pletely co mforta ble in the labour party has been completely comfortable with labour's position on this. there are certainly some who think he should
have been stronger in thirsty backing the prime minister and secondly unequivocally saying russia was behind the attacks in salisbury. jeremy corbyn clearly has a more nuanced position on this. he is saying, let's not rush to judgment. let's not rush into assuming that we know all the facts before we do. you heard him in that clip saying particularly on the accusation that borisjohnson made yesterday vladimir putin being behind this, mr corbyn said, let's see the evidence if that is the case. he once cool heads to with this. and the coming week may yield more developments, because we heard from the prime minister that they would be looking at their next steps. she will meet with senior ministers on her national security council sometime early in the new week, when they will discuss what actions they want to ta ke will discuss what actions they want to take after moscow's announcements today. she will also be wanting to mmp today. she will also be wanting to ramp up some action on the international front. ramp up some action on the internationalfront. she doesn't
wa nt to internationalfront. she doesn't want to do this on her own, so she will be speaking to allies. we have seen support from the us, france, germany and the european union on this. she is also meeting other european leaders at the european council next week, where this issue will come up again. so on the domestic front, there will be some indication of what, if any further action will be taken. she will want that to be replicated in some way on an international front as well. that to be replicated in some way on an international front as weltm seems whatever is decided, it is happening quite rapidly. some people are saying that is because looking back, lessons were learned from the litvinenko case, with a feeling then that the approach was too cautious and too much time was given. there was criticism of the way the uk government at the time responded to the litvinenko case. it did take a bit longer in that case for all the fa cts bit longer in that case for all the facts to emerge and to be pinned down by the government of the time. there are some in the uk who think that this should be left here and
that this should be left here and that there should not be increasing tit—for—tat measures. we have moscow say today that if the uk announced any new retaliations, it will respond in kind, with a former uk ambassador to russia saying this morning that we shouldn't start responding with tit—for—tat allegations and actions whenever one side does that. but at the heart of this, there was a feeling from the uk government that they need to respond to this unequivocally. they need to respond seriously and robustly. good to have your thoughts. how are russians living in the uk reacting to the events of the past few weeks? earlier i spoke to the blogger kostya pinaev, who came to london 12 years ago from russia. with the russians i know, there are a lots of discussions, but probably the same discussions that normal british people have about all this news. it is slightly scary, but for an average russian, we have nothing to do
with all of those things. but inadvertently, you do get a lot of questions from british people, obviously. and we know no more than you do. but at the same time, we have that connection with russia. in russia, the picture is very different. i suppose for people who are calling home and speaking to relatives, they are perhaps hearing something quite different. it must be an interesting discussion. predictably, there are a lot of questions from the russian side. personally, i get a bit suspicious when the british behave so quickly. usually, britain is so methodical. they take a lot of time. and literally within a week, we get huge accusations. you can't stop thinking about the dossier and things being rushed here. so you are saying you are sceptical about the speed with which the british government has responded, saying it is novichok and it came from russia and so on?
again, as a british person now i see the news and it looks very suspicious. it looks in character. what is out of character is the way britain has responded. if you remember the litvinenko case, which happened 11 or 12 years ago, britain was super slow and i think theresa may has personally made a lot of mistakes at that time. russia had a lot of leeway to say, we haven't done it. and a lot of people in russia still believe they had nothing to do with litvinenko. over here, it seems like they have overreacted and pushed a bit too far, too much. and that makes a lot of people suspicious in russia that this was all set up from day one. this has been the kremlin's mantra from day one, that we are surrounded by a circle of enemies. that is how it looks to an ordinary russian. you mentioned putin.
i assume it is not possible, because we are all human, but is it possible to say there are particular points of view about putin among the expat community or is there a mix? the majority of russians living here would have a british stand on putin. they would be very much against him. there is a very super—thin layer of russians who are still related to russia and dependent on putin. they are much less critical of putin, at least publicly. but on average, people do see him as a dictator. people see him as someone who can commit these crimes. speaking for people more widely in the russian expat community, are you concerned about the possible repercussions for you, or do you think this is way outside your pay grade? i hope it is way
outside my pay grade! 99% of russians will not get anything apart from a lot ofjokes about being a spy and a lot of questions which we don't know the answers to because there is so little information in this case. as we've been hearing, an amber weather warning is due to come into force this afternoon in north west england, yorkshire and the midlands and also london and parts of south east england. more than 100 flights have been cancelled at heathrow, mostly on short—haul routes. earlier i spoke to the independent‘s travel editor simon calder about the travel situation. over 100 flights have been cancelled, the vast majority on british airways, 86 on ba. of those, almost all our domestic and european flights. there is a round trip later
today to chicago and one in new york that has also been cancelled. aer lingus, klm and air france are also affected and lufthansa and its subsidiary euro wings has cancelled a number of flights. if you are in the departure lounge at heathrow or another airport and your flight is only half an hour late, you're doing pretty well. delays are building during the day, mostly tied up, i understand, with de—icing problems. so that is heathrow. what about other airports? london city is having an exciting morning, as are the passengers trying to use it. we have already had a couple of diversions. one flight from edinburgh is in southend and a return flight has been cancelled. we have long delays there as well. that isa have long delays there as well. that is a concern because there is a cu rfew is a concern because there is a curfew at london city airport. it closes from lunchtime on saturday till lunchtime on sunday, so if you don't get out of docklands by them, you're not going to. hello if you're
in the departure lounge at gatwick airport and your flight is about half an hour late. that seems to be the average. things are going ok, but the airport says they expect problems later and you are urged to check with your airline before you set off for the airport, and allow extra time because transport links will be disrupted as well. people are heading to the trains might also be expecting trouble? yes. helen referred to the snow and ice two weeks ago and that is still having problems on the whole trains between the humber and london. they have cancelled services this weekend, not all of them but some of them, because the snow and ice got into the electrics and caused problems. we have a fallen tree on the line between salisbury and southampton which is blocking things there, and across the pennines we are beginning to see some problems between stalybridge and huddersfield. those are tied up with signalling, which
may be to do with the wintry weather, but as the week and develops, things could get more tricky. and given that, people who are getting twitchy about travel plans for tomorrow, give us a sense of that, and also do people who are getting disrupted today having a hope of getting away later? at the moment, around 16,000 passengers have been affected. most of them we re have been affected. most of them were told yesterday what was going to happen. if you are booked to travel tomorrow and you are an aba short—haulflights travel tomorrow and you are an aba short—haul flights from heathrow, don't be too surprised if you get a text or an e—mail letter saying you have been rebooked on a different ﬂight. have been rebooked on a different flight. we are likely to see more proactive cancellations at heathrow, that ba has said anybody flying in and out of london city, gatwick or heathrow this weekend who doesn't wa nt to ta ke heathrow this weekend who doesn't want to take a chance, even if your ﬂight want to take a chance, even if your flight is still shown is going, you can read book for monday, tuesday or wednesday. as always with these difficult times, be prepared for delays and disruption. let's get the latest weather
prospects now. well, the beast from the east or the mini beast, as we are calling it, has arrived. it should not last too long. this was the radar picture from earlier. for a while, we had rain towards the far south—west, but temperatures are dropping here. frequent snow showers coming in from off the north sea and the number of amber warnings from the met office. there are frequent snow showers coming in from off the north sea and then the secondary area develops overnight. we have the snow showers coming into this evening. but the worst of the weather will be towards the south of the night goes on, because we have an organised spell of snow arriving in south—west england and parts of wales. a widespread frost, and icy conditions. where we have the snow
for a while in the morning across wales, it may linger in the afternoon across cornwall and devon. behind it, it is cloudy in the south—east, so there will not be much snow falling. another cold day, especially in the wind. this is bbc news, our latest headlines... the prime minister says britain will never tolerate russia's actions