Netizen 24 ZAF: Russian minister dismisses British spy poisoning claims

Posted by On 6:30 AM

Russian minister dismisses British spy poisoning claims

The United Kingdom will expel 23 Russian diplomats in response to a nerve agent attack on a Russian former double agent, Prime Minister Theresa May said today.

Ms May told parliament the United Kingdom would also freeze Russian state assets wherever there was evidence of a threat and downgrade its attendance at the soccer World Cup this summer.

Former spy Sergei Skripal (66) and his daughter Yulia (33) were found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4th and remain in hospital in a critical condition.

Ms May has said the pair were attacked with Novichok, a Soviet-era military-grade ne rve agent. She had asked Moscow to explain whether it was responsible for the attack or had lost control of stocks of the highly dangerous substance.

Russia has denied any involvement, and Ms May told parliament Moscow had provided no credible explanation for the attack.

“There is no alternative conclusion, other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter, and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury,” she said.

“This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.”

In an oral statement to the House of Commons, Ms May told MPs that Russia had responded to her demand for an explanation of events in Salisbury with “sarcasm, contempt and defiance”.

The prime minister said the expulsion of the 23 diplomats, identified as undeclared intelligence officers, would degrade Russian intelligence capabilities in Britain for years to come.

“We will freeze Russian state assets wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents,” Ms May said.

She said no ministers or members of the royal family would attend the World Cup in Russia.

Russia said Britain should expect retaliation for its actions.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov had earlier dismissed British allegations as not robust and not serious.

Mr Lavrov claimed Britain is “flagrantly trying to mislead” the international community and that its approach is “we know everything, you have to believe us.”

Scientists at Britain’s military research laboratory at Porton Down ide ntified the poison as a military-grade nerve agent from a group of chemicals known as Novichok, which was first developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

A Russian chemist who helped develop the nerve agent said only the Russian government could have carried out the attack with such a deadly and advanced toxin.

A British policeman who was also affected by the nerve agent is now conscious in a serious but stable condition.â€"Reuters

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