Russia: "The Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures"

19 March, 2018, 05:52 | Author: Devin Moran
  • Russia calls British PM's allegations over poisoning 'insane'

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow will expel British diplomats in response to London's move to kick out 23 Russian officials over the poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal.

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has said the United Kingdom should "pull the plug" on Russia Today (RT), the state-owned television station she accuses of spreading regime propaganda, including the suggestion that Britain arranged the nerve agent-attack on Sergei Skripal in order to stoke "Russophobia".

The Telegraph cites anonymous sources close to investigators, who reportedly believe that the poison (that left the spy in critical condition) was planted in his daughter's suitcase while departing from Moscow.

The joint statement agreed by Mrs May, US President Donald Trump, France's Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Angela Merkel followed speculation of Paris wobbling in its support for Britain's response to the March 4 attack, which has seen 23 Russian diplomats ordered out of the country.

But Johnson went a step further and blamed Putin directly today.

It has been a rather eventful week for UK - Russia relations, to say the least.

According to Russian news agency Tass, Mr Peskov said: "We hope that common sense will prevail and that other countries will at least stop to think if there is any proof or there is none, and if reproaches against Moscow have grounds to rely on".

Russia's foreign ministry said the diplomats in Moscow have one week to leave.

The Foreign Secretary's comments were rebuked by Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said: "We have said on different levels and occasions that Russian Federation has nothing to do with this story".

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

Mr Johnson said: "We have nothing against the Russians themselves".

Military personnel wearing protective suits remove a police auto and other vehicles from a public auto park on March 11, 2018, in Salisbury, England.

About 400 witnesses have already come forward in what is "extremely challenging and complex investigation", Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of London's Metropolitan Police said.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "On Wednesday, the Prime Minister wrote to formally invite the OPCW to verify the Government's analysis of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack".

It came as mounting evidence suggests Skripal and his daughter were attacked with nerve agent around the time they visited the graves of his wife and son in Salisbury. Russia's Investigative Committee opened a criminal case Friday into Yulia Skripal's attempted murder.

Speaking at an emergency Security Council session, Haley on Wednesday also named Russian Federation, saying it was "responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent" and calling the attack "an atrocious crime". The Kremlin has always denied the accusation.

CNN's Matthew Chance reported from Moscow and Laura Smith-Spark wrote and reported from London.



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