Monday, 17 February, 2020


Johnson: 'Overwhelmingly likely' Putin ordered nerve agent attack

Russia's Kinzhal hypersonic missile flies during a test in southern Russia. Russian military says it has run a successful test Johnson: 'Overwhelmingly likely' Putin ordered nerve agent attack
Patty Aguilar | 17 March, 2018, 22:56

Asked by a Reuters reporter in the Kazakh capital Astana if Russia planned to expel British diplomats from Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov smiled and said: "We will, of course". "Any reference or mentioning of our president is nothing else but shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct", the Russian presidential spokesman added.

"'We regard the statement by Prime Minister May in the parliament on March 14 about "punitive" measures against Russian Federation under a false pretext of alleged involvement in the poisoning of S. Skripal and his daughter as an unprecedentedly gross provocation that undermines the foundations of a normal interstate dialogue between our countries", the ministry said in a statement.

"These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"We condemn this unprecedented attack by Russian Federation on the territory of the United Kingdom".

Russian Federation has repeatedly dismissed the UK's accusations as "unfounded" and warned it would retaliate over the expulsion of its diplomats.

Police said the substance that rendered them critically ill was a nerve agent.

At home, the British government has been under pressure from lawmakers and media to show it was getting tough on Russian Federation, with some experts saying that despite the rhetoric, the response did not go far enough to bother Putin.

Moscow, therefore, vowed an imminent response to hostile moves by the United Kingdom authorities.

London's Metropolitan Police said Friday it had launched a murder investigation into Glushkov's death following the results of a post-mortem exam, which gave the cause of death as "compression to the neck".

"The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in US elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement on Thursday.

Putin has so far only said publicly that Britain should get to the bottom of what has happened.

Earlier, the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce (RBCC) said May's decision to impose additional punitive measures against Russian Federation as a response to the Skripal case will mean a further deterioration in business relations between the two countries. "Russia's claim that Ukrainians made a free choice in that sham "referendum" has always lacked credibility", she said in a statement. They accuse Russian Federation of aggression against their country, and they issue 20-hour ultimatum. Trump, echoing the British government, said it looked as though Moscow was behind the attack.

Both sides are contemplating escalation in the row over an assassination attempt on a former Russian spy-turned-mole in Salisbury earlier this month.

It's the latest escalation in the clash between the two nations over the use of a military-grade nerve agent against a former Russian spy who is now a British citizen. The Kremlin has always denied the accusation.

British investigators are working on the theory that an item of clothing or cosmetics or a gift in the luggage of Skripal's daughter was impregnated with the toxin, and then opened in Skripal's house in Salisbury, the Daily Telegraph said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday that Moscow would expand its own "black list" of Americans, adding that additional measures have not yet been ruled out. He was granted refuge in the UK after a high-profile spy exchange between the United States and Russian Federation in 2010.

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