Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

UK seeks independent verification of nerve agent used in attack on spy

UK seeks independent verification of nerve agent used in attack on spy

Britain has escalated a war of words with Russian Federation over the incident in recent days. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused London of behaving in a "boorish" way and suggested this was partly due to the problems Britain faces over its planned exit from the European Union next year.

The statement comes as Britain seeks worldwide support to hold Russia accountable for the March 4 attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said it is "highly likely" that Russia is responsible for the attack and she announced several reprisals, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from Britain. "It threatens the security of us all", the USA and European leaders said.

"Since the beginning of this week, the United Kingdom has briefed its allies thoroughly, and France in particular, that it was highly likely that Russian Federation was responsible for the attack".

The allies said Russia's failure to respond to Britain's "legitimate request" for an explanation "further underlines its responsibility".

The chemical used in the attack has been identified part of a group of nerve agents developed by Russian Federation known as Novichok, Mrs May said.

They include Moscow's intelligence services, a propaganda organisation and businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, one of 13 Russian nationals charged with interfering with United States elections and political processes by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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She met members of the emergency services and the military deployed to the southwestern English city of Salisbury, where Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned on March 4. A British policeman who was also poisoned is in a serious but stable condition.

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The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was giving the 23 British diplomats one week to leave the country.

The comments came after the diplomatic drama shifted to the United Nations Security Council. The spy, Sergei Skripal, had ceased to be an active threat to its interests.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation between Britain and Russia, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at United Nations headquarters.

Police officers wear protective suits inside the fence of "Ashley Wood Recovery", a vehicle recovery business in Salisbury, near where the auto of Sergei Skripal was taken on March 13, 2018.

Washington supports London's decision to expel the Russian diplomats as a "just" response, the White House statement said.

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