Theresa May ramped up the pressure on Russia, expelling 23 of Moscow’s diplomats today after the nerve agent attack.
The UK has cut off all high-level contacts with Russia, as well as announcing a boycott of this summer’s World Cup by Government ministers and members of the Royal Family.
But if things were to escalate on to a war footing, Russia has a daunting amount of military might at its leaders’ disposal.
Official figures put the number of active Russian military personnel at around 770,000 – the fifth largest in the world. By contrast, the UK’s Regular Forces number just under 150,000.
There are another two million reserves in the country.
But Vladimir Putin’s most terrifying threat comes from the range and quantity of high-tech hardware available to him.
Just last week, Russia unveiled a “hypersonic” missile which, it was claimed, is undetectable, alongside 300 new high-tech weapons.
This week, Russian weapons giant Kalashnikov rolled out a terrifying killer robot tank in breathtaking footage that shows it attacking a building with soldiers.
And the country already has more than 20,000 tanks, over 30,000 armoured fighting vehicles, nearly 6,000 self-propelled guns and a rocket artillery totalling around 4,000 vehicles.
The ground assault vehicles include 550 T-90 tanks, the country’s main battle tank.
Each three-man vehicle weighs 46 tonnes and are armed with a 125 mm smoothbore gun.
Russia also has a huge air force, totalling 4,402 craft – an array of airborne might second only to the US.
Recent figures showed the country holds 629 dedicated fighter jets, including 154 MiG-31s, and another 428 multirole aircraft.
There are a further 752 attack aircraft, including 279 supersonic Su-24s.
Of its 1,360 helicopters, there are 559 Mil Mi-8/17s for transporting troops long distances and dropping them into combat.
Slightly less overwhelming jaw-dropping is the country’s 313-vessel navy, well below the 436 ships the US has and dwarfed by China’s 749-strong fleet.
But it still poses a threat at sea, with 19 destroyers, six frigate, 83 corvettes and 61 submarines.
Of the subs, one is Typhoon-class, a nuclear-powered ballistic missile vessel.
Speaking to the Commons today, Mrs May said Russia had failed to provide a “credible” explanation for how the Novichok nerve agent which it had developed came to be used in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4.
She said: “There is no alternative conclusion other than 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 in Salisbury, including Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.
“This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.”
The Russian embassy in London responded to the expulsions by saying they were “unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted”.
Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, who had been summoned to the Foreign Office ahead of Mrs May’s statement, said the UK Government’s actions were “absolutely unacceptable and a provocation.”