Russian politician warns Britain not to escalate diplomatic crisis

Russian politician warns Britain not to escalate diplomatic crisis

He said that Russia's demands that the United Kingdom substantiate its accusations come also due to the fact that Yulia Skripal poisoned alongside her father, a former Russian military intelligence colonel, is a Russian national and lives in Moscow. Authorities have cordoned off several sites in and near Salisbury, 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of London as part of their probe.

Sobchak has posed as a defender of liberal values and denounced Putin's policies, but many observers believe the Kremlin has given its tacit blessing for her to join the contest hoping that she would add an element of competition to the otherwise lackluster race. The tensions threaten to overshadow Putin's expected re-election Sunday for another six-year presidential term.

"The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent", Haley said in her remarks at a UN Security Council emergency session, blasting the Russian government for flouting global law.

Asked by a Reuters reporter in the Kazakh capital if Moscow would expel British diplomats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov smiled and said on Friday: "We will, of course".

There was, however, little sign last night of Russia or Mr Putin conceding any ground as Britain awaited Moscow's formal response to Mrs May's announcement on Wednesday of measures including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told the BBC however that Britain is "entirely in conformity" with OPCW procedures and is sending a sample of the nerve agent to the watchdog for examination. Ella Pamfilova was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying, "It is in our interest that everything works".

Sergei Skripal, 66, (left) and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain critically ill in hospital after they were attacked with a nerve agent.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told The Associated Press that the Salisbury attack is a direct challenge to Europe that will likely be discussed at an European Union ministers' meeting Monday in Brussels.

They also launched a murder investigation into the death of Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian businessman who was found dead in his London home on Tuesday.

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British police said Friday 131 people were exposed to trace amounts of the military-grade nerve agent, Novichok, used in the assault.

Russian Federation denies being the source of the poison, suggesting it could have been another country, and has demanded that Britain share samples collected by investigators.

In a state-of-the-nation speech earlier this month, Putin said Russian Federation has tested an array of new nuclear weapons that are impossible to intercept. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons also says it expects action soon in response to the British investigation.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose response to the attack has led to criticism from some on his backbenches, said "the evidence points towards Russia" being responsible - but the possibility of gangsters being behind the attack rather than the Kremlin could not be excluded.

Britain on Wednesday called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the incident, winning the support of the United States as US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Russian Federation was "responsible for the attack".

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commander of the British Army's chemical and biological weapons regiment, called that Russian claim "complete hogwash".

Multiple theories have been put forward as to how the deadly nerve agent was administered.

But as the pressure grows, not everyone is convinced of President Putin's regime's guilt and questions are mounting about how the nerve agent was delivered and exactly who ordered the hit.

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