Britain Accuses Russia Of Stockpiling Novichok Nerve Agent

The Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

Image British embassy staff working in Moscow will be wondering how long they will be there for

"We actually have evidence within the last 10 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", Johnson told the BBC on March 18.

"The first thing that came to my mind: If it was military grade agent, they would have died on the spot, obviously", said Putin, speaking at party headquarters in Moscow shortly after he spoke to a crowd in central Moscow.

Johnson said he will brief European Union foreign ministers on the case Monday before meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Tests to independently verify the British findings are expected to take at least two weeks, Britain's Foreign Office said.

Former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia may have been exposed to a deadly nerve agent through his car's ventilation system, U.S. media has reported.

Putin, a former KGB spy who is poised to win a fourth term in an election on Sunday, has so far only said publicly that Britain should get to the bottom of what has happened.

He also added that Russian Federation does not have such weapons and is "ready to co=operate with Britain to investigate the spy's poisoning".

Speaking at an event in Moscow on Thursday night, Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation was a "proud" nation "and will be in the future, too".

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The Russian government expelled 23 British diplomats Saturday in response to Great Britain's decision to expel Russian operatives over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England.

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

A British policeman was also poisoned when he went to help them and remains in a serious but stable condition.

'President Macron said that France completely shares the UK's assessment that there is no plausible explanation other than that Russian Federation was responsible for the attack and he once again expressed his full support for the United Kingdom as a close and strong ally, ' the spokesman said.

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

"The British keep hiding the medical assessment from us, we do not have access to the patients, we do not have a chance to talk to the doctors", RIA quoted the ambassador as saying.

"The British side is warned that in case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures", the foreign ministry said.

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

U.K. -Russia relations have plunged to Cold War-era levels of iciness since the poisoning.

It said: "Clearly, by employing unilateral and non-transparent methods to investigate this incident, British authorities once again attempted to launch a baseless campaign against Russian Federation".

"If the latter, a connection to Russian mafia-like groups that have been allowed to gain a toehold in Britain can not be excluded", he said.

Russia's ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko, called for "cooler heads", telling the Mail on Sunday that the dispute is "escalating dangerously and out of proportion".

Skripal is a former Russian military intelligence officer who betrayed numerous Russian agents to Britain.

"We don't have any improvements, everything is only getting worse", she said.

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