Published: Mon, March 19, 2018

'Nonsense' Russia would poison spy: Putin

'Nonsense' Russia would poison spy: Putin

As he left the meeting in Moscow, he told reporters that the United Kingdom would "always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort".

Russian Federation also said it was halting the activities of the British Council, Britain's worldwide organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, across the country.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador, Laurie Bristow, to a meeting on Saturday morning in central Moscow at its Stalin-era headquarters during which he was informed of the measures.

The response comes amid a deterioration of London-Moscow relations over the consequent British punitive measures against Russia and the former Russian spy attack row.

The British Council on Saturday voiced deep disappointment after Moscow halted its activities in Russian Federation in tit-for-tat measures announced following the poisoning of a former double agent on British soil.

When asked by Sky News whether Russia had destroyed all its chemical weapons in line with the internationally recognised Chemical Weapons Convention, Russian diplomat, Alexander Shulgin said: "Absolutely".

Relations between the two nations have deteriorated rapidly since the March 4 nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.

Russian Federation has denied the U.K.'s allegations, accusing Britain of using the incident in a campaign to smear Moscow.

There were only two plausible explanations, either this was a direct act by the Russian State against my country or, conceivably, the Russian government had lost control of a military-grade nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.

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

The statement said the government could take further measures if Britain takes any more "unfriendly" moves toward Russian Federation. Russian officials have increasingly begun suggesting the attack could have been staged by Britain itself.

The second week of the investigation began with Prime Minister Theresa May saying either Russian Federation authorised the attack or had lost control of the military-grade Novichok.

Investigations by world-leading experts at the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, accredited by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), discovered that they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Bristow arrived at the ministry on Saturday, according to witnesses.

"We are profoundly disappointed at this development", the group said in a statement. The tensions threaten to overshadow Putin's expected re-election Sunday for another six-year presidential term.

Western powers see the attack as the latest sign of alleged Russian meddling overseas.

Britain is also trying to build a unified Western response, saying the attack in Salisbury is just the latest example of Russia's disregard for the rule of law.

Meanwhile, U.K. police have also opened a murder investigation in the death of another Russian exile living in Britain.

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