Johnson: 'overwhelmingly likely' that Putin ordered spy nerve attack

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Russian Federation did not immediately announce retaliatory measures, but its Foreign Ministry said "our response will not be long in coming". The British Council is a cultural institute with artistic, language and educational programs.

The Foreign Ministry said Moscow's measures were a response to what it called Britain's "provocative actions and groundless accusations".

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russian Federation had halted all chemical weapons research after joining the Chemical Weapons Convention that came into force in 1997, and completed the destruction of its stockpiles past year.

The British Council said it was "profoundly disappointed" by Moscow's decision to order its closure.

Counterterrorism police are leading the investigation "because of the associations Mr. Glushkov is believed to have had", a police statement said.

Putin urged Russians to "use their right to choose the future for the great Russia that we all love". They remain in critical condition in hospital.

Putin's spokesman branded the allegations "shocking and unforgivable" as Russian Federation continues to deny any involvement in the UK.

President Vladimir Putin has appealed to Russians' "love of the fatherland" to encourage them to vote on Sunday, as he seeks to boost turnout at an election he is sure to win.

British Ambassador Laurie Bristow is expected at the Russian Foreign Ministry late Saturday morning. She didn't expel Russia's ambassador or announce sanctions against any individuals or companies.

It said Britain's "hostile measures" were "an unprecedentedly crude provocation".

"We have no dispute with the Russian people", he said. However, Russia has vigorously denied involvement in the attack.

Читайте также: Russian Federation expels 23 United Kingdom envoys in poison row

Asked by a journalist at a press conference if Russian Federation would kick out British diplomats, Lavrov said simply "of course, we will". Mirzayanov said he revealed the existence of Novichok because he thought it was necessary to deprive Russian Federation of its "deadly secret". "This use of chemical weapons is a clear violation of the worldwide law", he said.

The March 14 statement made by British Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament on measures to "punish" Russian Federation, under the false pretext of its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter, constitutes an unprecedented, flagrant provocation that undermines the foundations of normal dialogue between our countries. United Kingdom officials believe they were exposed to a nerve agent known as Novichok that was developed in Russian Federation.

Russian Federation has refused Britain's demands to explain how Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military, was used to strike down Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, in the southern English city of Salisbury.

Peskov slammed Johnson's remarks as "shocking and unforgivable behavior from the point of view of diplomacy".

"Russia should shut up and go away", Williamson said. "Any reference or mentioning of our president is nothing else but shocking and unpardonable diplomatic misconduct".

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

Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, who heads up the national counter-terror police network which is leading the Salisbury investigation, appealed for anyone with information about the "despicable" and "appalling" attack to come forward. Officers also are trawling through some 4,000 hours of CCTV footage, he said. There's no evidence at this stage that his death and the attack on the Skripals are linked, it said.

Former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal attends a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court in Moscow on August 9, 2006.

Thus, the massive exit of Russians to London was combined with the corresponding increase in the presence of Russian spies serving a series of purposes, among which the most important is the oversight of the Russians living in the British capital, be it political opponents the President, or those found in the British capital to take advantage of the real estate market and its banking system.

In characteristic Russian style, of course, the Kremlin has fiercely refuted May's accusations.

"The onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions and to comply with their global obligations".

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