Ex-spy poisoning row: Britain unable to identify source of nerve agent

04 April, 2018, 01:46 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Skripals

As the fallout from the incident continues, both Skripal and his daughter remain hospitalized in Salisbury.

"We need to respond in a proportionate way to this aggressive behavior from Russian Federation and that's what we're doing", the spokesman said when asked if there was a real risk of triggering a war.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, listens to a reporter's question during a joint news conference with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.

Putin said, given the lack of precise information about the agent's origin, "the speed at which the anti-Russian campaign has been launched causes bewilderment".

Russian Federation has denied responsibility for the poisoning, and condemned the USA and U.K.'s responses to the attack.

The UK government has long pointed fingers at Russian Federation for the attack against the former double agent and his daughter on British soil.

The OPCW said Russian Federation had asked for the meeting but London has already accused Moscow of requesting the OPCW talks as a "diversionary tactic".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the British accusations on Monday as a "mad and disgusting provocation". British intelligence agencies could have been involved and the case helped distract public attention from the British government's hard talks to exit the European Union, Lavrov said.

Chizhov says "Russia clearly had no motive" to attack Skripal, who was convicted of spying for Britain but freed in a 2010 spy swap.

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Britain has also suspended high-level diplomatic contact with Moscow.

France expelled four Russian diplomats last week over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal.

The Trump administration's decision followed the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the U.K. Russia responded to those expulsions by kicking an equal number of British officials out of Russia.

Russian Federation has already retaliated in kind after Britain initially expelled 23 diplomats.

Lavrov also assailed the British authorities for stonewalling Russia's request for consular access to Yulia Skripal, 33, a Russian citizen whose condition has improved since she and her father fell critically ill on March 4.

Britain says the Skripals were poisoned with a Soviet-developed nerve agent, and that the Russian state must be behind the attack.

Ambassador Jon Hunstman was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, a gothic skyscraper built under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, and told that 60 diplomats from USA missions had a week to leave Russia, as Washington had expelled 60 Russians.

More than 20 countries joined the USA in expelling Russian diplomats last week out of solidarity with the UK. Moscow is still "assessed" to be responsible, though. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko called Skripal's poisoning a "provocation arranged by Britain" in order to justify high military spending, because "they need a major enemy".

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