Vladimir Putin dismisses Salisbury poisoning claims as 'nonsense'

19 March, 2018, 13:22 | Author: Rolando Keller
  • Britain has thrown out Russian 23 diplomats over the March 4 nerve agent attack

Britain last week expelled 23 Russian diplomats over the incident, to which Moscow responded in a tit-for-tat expulsion as well as announcing that it would halt the activities of the British Council, Britain's worldwide organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.

Mr Putin said he was ready to cooperate with the British authorities in investigating the attack.

Results are expected to take at least two weeks.

"This is a classic Russian strategy ... they're not fooling anybody anymore", Johnson said.

Mirzayanov, who now lives in the United States, says Moscow invented the highly toxic nerve agent during the Cold War and used to make it in a Moscow-based institute where he worked until the early 1990s.

"In case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures - this is what the British Ambassador was told on Saturday", he said.

Johnson told reporters that Britain has information that within the last 10 years, "the Russian state has been engaged in investigating the delivery of such agents, Novichok agents ... very likely for the purposes of assassination".

Mr Johnson is travelling to Brussels to seek further support for Britain's stance, from both the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

LONDON - Britain's foreign minister said Sunday that he has evidence Russian Federation has been stockpiling a nerve agent in violation of worldwide law "very likely for the purposes of assassination".

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Russia has denied any involvement, cast Britain as a post-colonial power unsettled by Brexit, and even suggested London had fabricated the attack in an attempt to whip up anti-Russian hysteria.

Russia's ambassador to the European Union sparked the angry response by saying Salisbury, where ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia were poisoned two weeks ago, is near military base Porton Down.

Johnson also said he had been heartened by strong expressions of support from the United States and other allies - although it remains unclear whether there will be a coordinated global response to the Novichok attack. The British Embassy in Moscow told CNN it had been given a list of 23 specific individuals that were to be expelled from Russian Federation.

Mr Chizhov, however, backed away when asked whether he was accusing Britain of exposing the Skripals to the lethal poison, saying: "I don't know".

The two are critically ill in a British hospital following a suspected attack from a nerve agent.

However, the Russian president, who has won the election granting him a fourth term in office, said he is willing to work with London on the probe.

Moscow's reaction to the incident "was not the response of a country that really believes itself to be innocent", Johnson said on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show.

Johnson said Britain's National Security Council will meet this week to discuss what further measures the country might take.

"We have said on different levels and occasions that Russian Federation has nothing to do with this story", he said.

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