Friday, 23 August, 2019

'Overwhelmingly likely' Putin ordered spy attack, says Boris Johnson

British Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow leaves the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow Russia British Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow leaves the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow Russia
Patty Aguilar | 17 March, 2018, 20:59

The closure of the offices, ordered by Russia's Foreign Ministry, followed the expulsion of Russian diplomats in Britain over the 2006 poisoning of ex-KGB operative Alexander Litvinenko in London.

The Skripals remain in a critical condition following the attack that also poisoned a British police officer.

Earlier this week, Britain announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and suspension of high-level contacts over the poisoning.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson upped the stakes Friday when he said it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally gave the order to use the nerve agent against the Skripals.

It added, "The British side is warned that, in the case of further actions of an unfriendly character toward Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take other answering measures".

Britain had been widely expecting a robust response from Russian Federation, but it was immediately unclear whether there would be further retaliatory moves. Both nations are members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which means that London is obliged to include Moscow in the investigation. After several days of investigation, British authorities determined that they were poisoned with a nerve agent known as Novichok, which is believed to be unique to Russian Federation.

Moscow has denied any involvement in the attempted murder of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

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Russian Federation foreign ministry says it will expel 23 British diplomats
United Kingdom officials believe the Skripals were exposed to a nerve agent known as Novichok that was developed in Russian Federation .

United Kingdom officials have said a nerve agent from Russia's so-called Novichok program was used to target Skripal. May said the four countries were "very clear in attributing this act to Russia" and the statement showed that "allies are standing alongside us and saying this is part of a pattern of activity that we have seen from Russia".

Asked by a Reuters reporter in the Kazakh capital Astana if Moscow would expel British diplomats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov smiled and said: "We will, of course".

Berezovsky was found dead in March 2013 with a scarf tied around his neck in the bathroom of a luxury mansion west of London.

A British judge in 2014 said he could not be sure if Berezovsky killed himself or was the victim of foul play.

Meanwhile, U.K. police have also opened a murder investigation in the death of another Russian exile living in Britain. It is Russian Federation that blatantly violates global law and the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons, "the British foreign policy department stated". A British public inquiry found Putin had "probably" ordered that assassination. It said in a statement that the measure was "in response to the provocative actions of the British side and unsubstantiated accusations" against Russian Federation.

In London, opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn struck a starkly different tone to that of the British government by warning against rushing into a new Cold War before full evidence of Moscow's culpability was proven.

London's Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command has said there is no suggestion that Glushkov's death is connected to the poisoning attack, but that they are investigating because "of associations Mr Glushkov is believed to have had".

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