Nerve agent planted in luggage of Russian agent's daughter

Nerve agent planted in luggage of Russian agent's daughter

Troy Powers
March 19, 2018

"Twenty three diplomatic staff at the British embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and to be expelled within a week", a foreign ministry statement said.

It is therefore entirely reasonable that Britain asked Russian Federation to clarify if it was behind the attack or had somehow lost control over the nerve agent, two possible explanations for the Salisbury incident.

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.

Mr Johnson's decision to place blame for the attack in Salisbury on Mr Putin personally came as Britain awaited Moscow's response to the expulsion of 23 of its diplomats.

The sanctions prompted a swift threat of retaliation from the Russian government, which said a response was already being prepared. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswomanMaria Zakharova told the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Saturday that the most likely source of the Novichok nerve toxin was Britain itself or the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden or the United States.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the final decision on retaliatory measures "will, of course, be made by the Russian president". Russia has denied any involvement and has accused London of whipping up anti-Russian hysteria.

A British policeman was also poisoned when he went to help them and remains in a serious but stable condition.

Britain's National Security Council will meet in the next few days to "consider next steps", the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London said in a statement yesterday.

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She said: "What could he say, the defence minister of a country that conceals information on the use of chemical-warfare agents on its soil?"

Yulia Skripal had just landed in London from Moscow March 3 and senior intelligence officials told the Telegraph UK they believed the lethal nerve agent Novichok - which was first developed by the Soviet military - was placed in her suitcase before she left, in an attempt to target her double-agent dad.

The representatives of Russia's Foreign Ministry added that the British Council is not anymore functioning in Russian Federation. It had warned London it stood ready to take further measures in the event of more "unfriendly steps". Russia's Investigative Committee opened a criminal case Friday into Yulia Skripal's attempted murder.

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.

The expulsions came a day after British police launched a murder investigation after an autopsy revealed that a Russian exile who was critical of Putin was strangled in his home.

The expulsion of 23 British diplomatic personnel from Russia was a tit-for-tat move that mirrored Britain's expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in the United Kingdom - all of whom the British said had been identified as "undeclared" intelligence agents.

Trump spoke to reporters at the White House after his administration announced new sanctions on Russian entities for alleged meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.