Spy poisoning: May says state-sponsored attacks unacceptable

Lawrence Kim
March 19, 2018

Russia's ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, has claimed in a television interview that the chemical used to poison a former Russian spy in England had come from a British-based lab.

She told a forum of her Conservative Party that Britain had "anticipated a response of this kind" and that it "will consider our next steps in the coming days, alongside our allies and partners".

Chemical weapons experts will travel to Britain on Monday to begin an global investigation into the Salisbury poisoning.

Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning of the Skripals.

Former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain in a critical condition in hospital, while Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was exposed to the Novichok nerve agent while responding to the incident, is no longer considered critical.

Moreover, Russia has also withdrawn permission to open the British Consulate General in St. Petersburg.

An employee in Perm's regional administration says similar messages were sent to staff members in regional education, sports and administrative institutions.

The British Council said it was "profoundly disappointed" at its pending closure.

"The British side is warned that in case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures", the ministry said.

"The measures are more harsh, but the British deserved them".

Britain's Foreign Ministry said it had anticipated Russia's response and that its priority was to look after its staff in Russian Federation and assist those returning home.

The poisoning, which is being investigated as attempted murder by authorities, has plunged Britain and Russian Federation into a political crisis.

Writing in the Sun on Sunday two weeks after the March 4 incident, Mr Johnson said: "These futile measures will only punish ordinary Russians by depriving them of harmless opportunities to learn English and apply for United Kingdom visas".

Following the incident, Britain sent a communication to Moscow to clarify as to how Novichok nerve agent, developed by Russian Federation has landed in UK.

Putin's re-election was widely expected, and elections officials had pushed hard for a strong turnout to claim an indisputable mandate. She said Britain is taking a tough line because of frustration at recent advances of Russian-backed Syrian government forces against Western-backed rebels.

European Union leaders are to discuss the incident at a Brussels summit next week and it is also on the agenda for talks on Monday between Johnson, his European Union counterparts and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Putin, in his speech, also dismissed British accusations of Russia's involvement in an ex-spy's poisoning as "nonsense", adding that Moscow is ready to cooperate with London in the probe.

The BBC on Saturday said the police had made contact with Russians living in Britain to discuss their safety.

New tensions have also surfaced over the death Monday of a London-based Russian businessman, Nikolai Glushkov.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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