Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Russian Federation warns United Kingdom it will retaliate for expulsion of diplomats

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Ellis Copeland | 17 March, 2018, 12:17

On Monday, Theresa May told Parliament that Russian Federation is "highly likely" to blame for poisoning Mr Skripal and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent.

De Bretton-Gordon said there were rumors of a Novichok test in Uzbekistan in the 1980s but that any of the remaining nerve agent from that experiment would have lost its toxicity - and that the agent used to poison the Skripals was extremely toxic. In London, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ratcheted up the rhetoric against Russian Federation, accusing it of glorying in the attack on Sergei Skripal, which he described as a way of scaring anyone who stood up to President Vladimir Putin.

A Russian diplomat also claimed on Friday that the country had never had a programme called "novichok" and denied any production of the agent, despite one of the scientists who created it telling Sky News that only Russia could have been behind the attack.

Russian Federation has denied the existence of the Novichok programme, a military-grade nerve agent which Britain said was developed by Russian Federation and had been used on its soil on March 4.

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson called relations between the two countries "exceptionally chilly" and said Russian Federation should "go away and shut up".

Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, describing it as the most brazen such move since World War II.

Lavrov and other Russian officials have sought to cast doubt on the allegations, saying Britain has refused to share information on the deadly chemical nerve agent used in the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

The source of the nerve agent - which Britain says is Soviet-made Novichok - is unclear, as is the way it was administered.

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"We have said on different levels and occasions that Russian Federation has nothing to do with this story", he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed Johnson's remark in a comment to CNN.

Russia's ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko claimed the United Kingdom had angled allegations against Russian Federation to "divert attention from Brexit".

He said even the name Novichok was a "Western invention" and that Russian Federation never gave it a name.

He said the attack was Russia's "way of saying to people this is what happens to people who stand up to our regime".

Wiltshire Police said 131 people had been identified as potentially being exposed to the nerve agent - but none has shown any symptoms.

Skripal, a former agent of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency, betrayed dozens of Russian agents to Britain before being arrested in 2004.

In a joint statement, they demanded Moscow "address all questions" related to the attack against Skripal, which they said amounted to a "breach of global law". British police said Friday that he died from compression to the neck and opened a murder investigation.

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