Saturday, 21 April, 2018

United Kingdom says Russian Federation stockpiled nerve agent, Johnson Says

BMW car owned by former Russian spy Sergei Skripal is seen in this Metropolitan Police Handout via Reuters
Anna Jefferson | 19 March, 2018, 09:14

Worldwide experts are to test the nerve toxin used on a former Russian double agent in the city of Salisbury.

He said Porton Down, a United Kingdom military facility, has conducted research on chemical weapons 8 miles from Salisbury, the city in western England where double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned March 4.

It says the investigation was requested by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

On Sunday morning, Russia's ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, suggested to a BBC reporter that Britain must have had samples of Novichok at its chemical weapons laboratory, Porton Down, near the site of the attack.

The samples will be sent to "highly reputable global laboratories" selected by the OPCW for testing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected allegations that his country was behind the attack.

"Any reasonable man would understand that it's just sheer nonsense, complete rubbish to think that anyone in Russian Federation could do anything like that in the run-up to the presidential election and the World Cup", he said.

"We have destroyed all chemical weapons", he said, adding that Russian Federation was ready to take part in the investigation.

"Russia had nothing to do with it", Chizhov told the BBC.

The foreign ministry said that if Russian Federation has been stockpiling nerve agents this would amount to a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, of which Moscow is a signatory.

She said: "But Russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable".

AvalonBay Communities Inc (NYSE:AVB) Stake Decreased by Amica Mutual Insurance Co
Bruce & Co Inc who had been investing in Gm for a number of months, seems to be bullish on the $53.14 billion market cap company. It is positive, as 27 investors sold AVB shares while 128 reduced holdings. 58 funds opened positions while 139 raised stakes.

Putin wins landslide victory in Russia's presidential election
An official win of more than 73% of the vote would be a major boost to Putin, who already enjoys sweeping powers over his country. Ella Pamfilova, head of the commission organising the vote nationwide, has said any fraud will be stamped out.

United Kingdom accuses Russian Federation of stockpiling nerve agent
Opposition lawmakers are calling on the government to clamp down on the illicitly gained money of wealthy Russians in Britain. Russian election officials say they are looking into several incidents of ballot stuffing in the presidential vote.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "We actually have evidence within the last ten years that Russian Federation has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling novichok".

"And part of this programme has involved producing and stockpiling quantities of Novichok", a statement said.

He told Andrew Marr: "When you have a nerve agent or whatever, you check it against certain samples that you retain in your laboratories".

Asked whether he was saying Porton Down was responsible, Chizhov replied: "I don't know".

Mr Johnson blasted the ambassador's "satirical suggestion", adding: "This is not the response of a country that really believes itself to be innocent".

Britain and Russian Federation have each expelled 23 diplomats, broken off high-level contacts and taken other punitive steps in the escalating tit-for-tat dispute, which clouded the run-up to Sunday's presidential election in Russian Federation. He suggested that would have been the only way for British authorities to identify the nerve agent so soon.

Western powers see the poisoning of the Skripals as the latest sign of increasingly aggressive Russian interference in foreign countries.

Johnson also said Britain would target wealth linked to the Kremlin as a further measure following the spy poisoning.

He said these could include "defending ourselves against cyberattack, (and) looking at any economic measures that could be taken against Russians who corruptly obtained their wealth".

The spy dispute has sent U.K. -Russia relations to Cold War-levels of tension.

Mr Yakovenko called for restraint and "cooler heads", telling the paper: "This dispute is indeed escalating dangerously and out of proportion".

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