Plane carrying Russian diplomats expelled from US lands in Moscow

A plane carrying Russian diplomats and their families landed in Moscow from the US on Sunday.
A Russian jet carrying 46 Russian diplomats and their family members is seen parked at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport on April 1, 2018.
A Russian jet carrying 46 Russian diplomats and their family members is seen parked at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport on April 1, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - The first plane carrying Russian diplomats expelled from the United States arrived at Moscow's Vnukovo airport on Sunday (Apr 1), an Agence France-Presse journalist reported.

The Il-96 jet brought home 46 Russian diplomats and their family members, according to the state TASS news agency. A second plane was expected to arrive in the Russian capital later on Sunday.

Britain had blamed Russia for poisoning a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury on March 4 with a military-grade nerve agent.

Moscow has fiercely denied any involvement in his attempted murder, instead pointing the finger at London.

Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning, raising tensions between the two countries to a level not seen since the heights of the Cold War.

The crisis has since seen more than 150 Russian diplomats ordered out of the US, EU member states, Nato countries and other nations.