France backs Britain over Salisbury spy poisoning

Elias Hubbard
March 18, 2018

He said a number of scientists who claim to be responsible for creating some nerve agents "have been whisked out of Russian Federation and are now residing in the United Kingdom" but no stockpiles of chemical weapons had left the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He also appeared to suggest that Britain itself may have been the source of the chemical agent.

Mr Johnson revealed: "We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russian Federation has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling novichok".

The Foreign Secretary claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to send a message to any defecting Russians that "you're going to die".

In turn, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that on Monday, London will submit to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) samples of a poisonous substance used against Skripal.

The announcement followed Britain's order this week for 23 Russian diplomats to leave the United Kingdom because Russia was not cooperating in the case of the Skripals, who were found March 4 poisoned by a nerve agent that British officials say was developed in Russia.

Russia has no chemical weapons stockpiles and was not behind the poisoning of former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, Russian Envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov stated while talking to the BBC's Andrew Marr on his Sunday show.

Despite diplomatic tensions rising and the Skripals and a police officer remaining in hospital, Russian Federation tried to strike a humorous tone.

Britain's National Security Council will meet early next week to consider the next steps, May said.

"Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable."

He added that there were "no stockpiles whatsoever" of nerve agents left in Russian Federation.

Putin is expected to easily win a presidential election on Sunday which would take him to almost a quarter of a century in power.

Britain has escalated a war of words with Russian Federation over the incident in recent days.

Opposition lawmakers are calling on the government to clamp down on the illicitly gained money of wealthy Russians in Britain.

But a Russian scientist disclosed details of a secret program to manufacture the military-grade nerve agents in the 1990s, and later published the formula.

The British research lab at at Porton Down in Wiltshire identified the substance used on the Skripals as part of a group of military-grade nerve agents created by Russian Federation and known as Novichok.

Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky said this was "wholly unsubstantiated" and "highly speculative". "It's wrong, it's appalling, it's murder", he said.

The identification of Novichok as the weapon has become the central pillar of Britain's case for Russia's culpability in the poisoning.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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