Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Russian Federation spy poisoning: 23 United Kingdom diplomats expelled from Moscow

Russian Federation spy poisoning: 23 United Kingdom diplomats expelled from Moscow

Seeking re-election this weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused by Britain of ordering the nerve agent attack on a ex-Russian spy on United Kingdom soil.

Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the poisoning.

Britain said on Saturday its priority was looking after its staff in Russian Federation, after Moscow expelled 23 British diplomats in a escalating crisis between the two countries over the poisoning of a double agent. Putin's spokesman denounced the claim.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson: "Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin, and with his decision, and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision, to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the United Kingdom".

The diplomatic standoff started with the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England on March 4.

Its retaliatory move came a day before Russians go to the polls for a presidential election in which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win a second consecutive term.

UK's Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday that Russia's dismissal of the British representatives "doesn't change the facts of the matter" of the poisoning.

Russian Federation has continued to deny any responsibility for the attack.

The measures were in response to "the provocative actions of the British side and the unsubstantiated accusations" against Russian Federation, the ministry said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says the West's angry reaction to a nerve agent attack in Britain is connected to the war in Syria.

Relations strained further on Friday when London's Metropolitan Police said that it's treating as murder the death of Nikolai Glushkov, a close associate of Putin opponent Boris Berezovsky-a one-time billionaire who was himself found hanged in 2013 in his house outside London.

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Britain blames Russian Federation for the attack, which has left the Skripals in critical condition and a police officer seriously ill in a Salisbury hospital.

"We have never encountered this level of discussion on the global stage", Peskov told reporters. He said Russia's recent provocations need a tough response, including action against Russian oligarchs with questionable ties who have used London as a safe haven. She denied the existence of the nerve agent Novichok that Britain said was used against them.

Russian Federation has insisted it is ready to cooperate in investigating the attack in Salisbury if Britain reciprocates by sharing the evidence it holds.

'They have treated the use of a military-grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance.

The British ambassador had been expecting this call for three days.

Russia has notified London of the retaliatory measures in relation with the so-called 'Skripal case, ' British Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow confirmed on Saturday after being summoned to the foreign ministry.

"It is possible that (Britain) will continue to respond; we are ready for this".

"Make those conventions work so we rid the world of chemical and biological weapons". It opened offices in Moscow under a 1959 agreement with the Soviet Union and expanded to 15 Russian cities after the 1991 collapse of the Communist state. He also cast doubt on the possibilities that the nerve agent was sent through the mail or was placed in luggage that Skripal's daughter brought with her from Russian Federation to Britain.

Vil Mirzayanov, who now lives in New Jersey, is quoted in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper as saying that he revealed the existence of Novichok because he thought it was necessary to deprive Russian Federation of its "deadly secret".

The response from Moscow is robust and does go further than the United Kingdom measures.

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