Britain's top diplomat says Russia's Vladimir Putin ordered ex-spy's poisoning

Anna Jefferson
March 24, 2018

Russia's investigative committee said it had opened a criminal case investigation into the "attempted murder" of Ms Skripal and "the murder" of Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile who was found dead in his home in London on Monday.

"It is our view that when political or diplomatic relations become hard, cultural relations and educational opportunities are vital to maintain on-going dialogue between people and institutions", it said in a statement.

"Shall we ensure the country's future together?" he said, drawing shouts of "Yes!" and applause.

Writing in the Washington Post, Mr Johnson also said the poison used in the Salisbury spy attack was specifically chosen to send a message to political dissenters challenging Russian president Vladimir Putin.

It comes after NHS England said Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, the police officer exposed to the Novichok agent in Salisbury, is no longer in a critical condition.

On March 4 spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, are found unconscious, slumped on a bench outside a shopping centre in Salisbury.

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As the students poured out of both the high school and middle school and into the parking lot, they milled about and talked. In Ventura, over 500 people have responded on social media to attend a March for our Lives rally in downtown Ventura.


The White House called the diplomatic expulsion a "just response" for Russia's "latest action", which it said "fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russian Federation disregards the global rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes".

Trump has faced fierce criticism in the United States for doing too little to punish Russia for the election meddling and other actions, and a special counsel is looking into whether Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians, an allegation the president denies.

British Ambassador Laurie Bristow is expected at the Russian Foreign Ministry late Saturday morning.

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The diplomats are due to leave London on March 20, RIA news agency quoted Russia's ambassador to Britain as saying.

Russian Federation is holding a presidential election of its own on Sunday, which Putin is widely expected to win.

Russia's envoy at the worldwide 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.

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Mr Yakovenko said that Britain had put its weight behind an "anti-Russian campaign" as it tried to establish a new place for itself within Western society after European Union withdrawal.

"Many trails point to the fact that Russian Federation is responsible", Merkel said just before talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron where they were expected to discuss an appropriate response to the attack.

The case has prompted comparisons with the 2006 radiation poisoning of former spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, which a British public inquiry blamed on Russian Federation. But the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and the United States said there was "no plausible alternative explanation" for the use of the Soviet-designed nerve agent.

A United Kingdom inquiry found that two Russian agents poisoned Litvinenko at a London hotel bar in 2006 by spiking his tea with highly radioactive polonium-210, and that Putin "probably approved" Litvinenko's killing.

Russian Federation exchanged verbal blows with Britain and its allies at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council late on March 14, which Britain's UN ambassador said he had called in an effort to hold Russian Federation accountable for the poisoning incident. The Kremlin says the accusation is "unforgivable". The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons also says it expects action soon in response to the British investigation.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign using hacking and propaganda, an effort that eventually included attempting to tilt the race in President Donald Trump's favor.

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He was one of four Russian prisoners released in 2010 in exchange for 10 Russian sleeper agents detained in the United States.

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