Russian Federation to expel British diplomats - Lavrov

Russian Federation to expel British diplomats - Lavrov

The spokesman's response confirmed statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who had announced earlier on Friday that Russia would definitely expel British diplomats, but that the intensity of the response would be determined by President Vladimir Putin, who is now in the midst of an election campaign.

Russian media reports suggest that the Kremlin is seeking a nationwide turnout of 65 percent, matching the turnout of the last presidential polls in 2012, in which Putin won almost 64 percent of the vote.

The use of a military-grade Russian nerve agent in an attack inside Britain shows that Western governments are failing to deter the regime of Vladimir Putin from increasingly audacious acts of aggression.

"You can expect it any minute", Peskov said. Russia has denied any involvement and has accused London of whipping up anti-Russian hysteria.

The UK government says they were poisoned with a nerve agent of a type developed by Russian Federation called Novichok, and PM Theresa May said she believed Moscow was "culpable".

A German government spokesman called the attack "an vast, appalling event".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said an European Union summit next week would discuss the issue, in the first instance to seek clarity.

He said his country had no motive to target Skripal, but suggested others could use the poisoning to "complicate" the World Cup.

Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in the genteel southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.

But in an unexpected twist, Russian investigators said on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation into the attempted murder of Yulia Skripal and stood ready to cooperate with British authorities.

Glushkov, 68, was discovered dead on Monday in south-west London.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a joint statement that there was no plausible explanation other than the poison came from Russian Federation.

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Britain has written to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, which monitors compliance with the global convention outlawing the use of such weapons, to obtain independent verification of the substance used.

As British authorities investigate the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England, there is much mystery about how exactly the brazen attack was carried out. The pair are hospitalized in critical condition in Salisbury, 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of London.

"They are working on the theory that the toxin was impregnated in an item of clothing or cosmetics or else in a gift that was opened in his house in Salisbury, meaning Miss Skripal was deliberately targeted to get at her father".

Voters are widely expected to re-elect Putin to his fourth term this Sunday against a weak field of contenders.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered 23 Russian diplomats she said were undeclared intelligence officers to leave the country within a week, along with several other measures.

Britain has expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended high-level contacts with Moscow due to the incident.

Putin underscored that the Russian population is the country's "only source of power" and said that the Russian people have always decided their own fate by themselves based on their "conscience, understanding of truth and justice and love for the Fatherland". "There is to be no Russophobia as a result of what is happening", he said.

"Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin and with his decision - and we think it is overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision - to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the United Kingdom, on the streets of Europe, for the first time since the Second World War".

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian news agencies as calling Johnson's statement a "shocking and inexcusable breach of diplomatic propriety".

"Russia should shut up and go away", Williamson said.

The war of words between Moscow and London continued Friday, with Lavrov lashing back at British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson for saying Russian Federation "should go away and shut up".

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