Litvinenko's widow slams United Kingdom response to latest ex-spy death

Alexander Yakovenko

Alexander Yakovenko

MOSCOW-Moscow will expel British diplomats in retaliation for a similar move made by London earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday, without specifying how many or any other measures in the deepening crisis between the two countries.

On Thursday, Ryabkov claimed Russian Federation had never developed anything like the alleged nerve agent, identified by the British as Novichok.

British authorities said they were poisoned with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed in Russian Federation.

Russia's envoy at the global chemical weapons watchdog said Britain and the USA both had access to Novichok and that the nerve agent used to attack the Skripals could have come from either of their stockpiles.

The UK this week accused the Russian government of orchestrating a chemical-weapons attack on British soil targeting Sergei Skripal, a former double agent. They ignored the warning signs in the behaviour of the Putin regime, both in Russian Federation and elsewhere.

Russian Federation denies any involvement in the March 4 attack on Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, who are both critically ill in hospital, and has accused Britain of unjustified action.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow, Russia, March 14, 2018. The first police officer on scene, Nick Bailey, is still hospitalized in serious condition.

De Bretton-Gordon said there were rumors of a Novichok test in Uzbekistan in the 1980s but that any of the remaining nerve agent from that experiment would have lost its toxicity - and that the agent used to poison the Skripals was extremely toxic.

She had to battle with the British authorities to hold the public inquiry into her husband's death, which May - then interior minister - had initially ruled out as Britain sought better relations with Russian Federation.

"Absolutely. Soon", the RIA news agency cited Lavrov as saying, when asked if Moscow was ready to kick out British diplomats.

May's office said in a statement that she discussed the investigation with France's Macron on Thursday morning.

"It threatens the security of us all", they added, without spelling out any possible further reprisals.

US President Donald Trump had pressed Russian Federation to provide answers but did not suggest that Moscow had a hand in the attempted murder.

The measures announced by Theresa May yesterday in response to the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury are welcome and overdue.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, blamed Moscow for the attack at a U.N. Security Council emergency meeting Wednesday.

May told lawmakers on Wednesday that Russia's sarcasm, contempt and defiance in the face of allegations that it was behind the use of a military-grade nerve agent in the sleepy city of Salisbury added to the evidence that it was to blame.

"This is a defining moment", Haley continued.

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