Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Putin says 'nonsense' to think Russian Federation would poison spy in Britain

Putin says 'nonsense' to think Russian Federation would poison spy in Britain

Johnson then accused Russian Federation of creating and storing the so-called "Novichok" nerve agent, claiming that the United Kingdom has "evidence... collected over the past 10 years" that Moscow has been developing nerve agents "for the objective of committing murder".

The British Foreign Office said in a March 18 statement that investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would arrive in Britain the following day to begin their probe into the substance used in the poisoning.

Novichok, which means "newcomer" in Russian, was developed in secret by the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980s, as a means of countering U.S. chemical weapons defenses.

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were exposed to a nerve agent in the city of Salisbury.

Its existence remained secret until the mid-'90s, when information regarding its production was revealed as part of a deliberate leak by disgruntled Soviet scientist and whistle-blower Vil Mirzayanov.

Russia's ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told the same program that his country has destroyed its reserves of such substances and a British research laboratory could be the source of the nerve agent used in the attack.

Russia's ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, told RT on Friday that the UK is using the Skripal case to divert attention from Brexit issues.

Chizhov said Britain's case is "based on assumptions, based on suspicions, fueled by emotions" and said Skripal is a traitor and "almost forgotten" back home.

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The British government dismissed the ambassador's suggestion as "nonsense".

ABC also reported that intelligence officials said that up to 38 individuals in Salisbury have been identified as having been affected by the nerve agent, but the full impact is still being assessed, and more victims sickened by the agent are expected to be identified. "And we will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil". "Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others", May said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose response to the attack has led to criticism from some on his backbenches, said "the evidence points towards Russia" being responsible - but the possibility of gangsters being behind the attack rather than the Kremlin could not be excluded. "This is not the response of a country that really wants to engage in getting to the bottom of the matter".

"Their response has been a mix of smug sarcasm and denial and obfuscation", he said. "We are ready for cooperation and said that immediately". On Sunday, Johnson wrote that Britain is not alone in facing Russia's "reckless behavior".

Russia's government is expelling 23 British diplomats and threatened further measures in retaliation in a growing diplomatic dispute over a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain.

When France's foreign ministry spokesman Agnes Von der Muhll was asked whether it would be ready to take counter-measures against Russian Federation, given London's claims, she said the government was in close contact with Britain on the issue.

'The Prime Minister and the President reiterated their condemnation of the use of all chemical weapons and said they would continue to cooperate closely in this area.

Shortly after Mrs May said that she was expelling Russian diplomats and suspending bilateral talks, Mr Griveaux told a news conference: 'We don't do fantasy politics.

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