Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Medical | By Mark Scott

US, France, Germany blame Russian Federation for attack on ex-spy

US, France, Germany blame Russian Federation for attack on ex-spy

The statement comes as Britain seeks worldwide support to hold Russia accountable for the March 4 attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking to CNN, slammed that remark.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Moscow would "certainly" expel some British diplomats in a tit-for-tat response.

Russian Senator Igor Morozov, a veteran of the Russian Service of External Intelligence, claimed that the British Council was shut down because United Kingdom intelligence operated under the cover of the organization, state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The British Council said it was "profoundly disappointed" at its pending closure.

"Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in Russian Federation, its activity is halted", the foreign ministry said.

The Department of State said that "Russian occupation authorities have subjected Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, pro-Ukrainian activists, civil society members, and independent journalists to politically motivated prosecution and ongoing repression, while methodically suppressing nongovernmental organizations and independent media outlets".

U.K. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson called relations between the two countries "exceptionally chilly" and said Russian Federation should "go away and shut up".

The announcement followed Britain's order this week for 23 Russian diplomats to leave the United Kingdom because Russia was not co-operating in the case of the Skripals, who were found March 4 poisoned by a nerve agent that British officials say was developed in Russia.

"The reason they've chosen this nerve agent is to show that it's Russian Federation, and to show people in their agencies who might think of defecting or of supporting another way of life, of believing in an alternative set of values, that Russian Federation will take revenge", Johnson told the BBC.

"President Macron said that France completely shares the U.K.'s assessment that there is no plausible explanation other than that Russian Federation was responsible for the attack and he once again expressed his full support for the a close and strong ally", the statement said.

The Russian statement said the government could take further measures if Britain takes any more "unfriendly" moves toward Russia. The 67-year-old had been one of Russia's most powerful figures in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Britain's National Security Council will meet early next week to consider the next steps, May said.

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 global norms on the rule of law.

Russian court officials at the time said he'd received at least $100,000 for his work for MI6, the British intelligence service.

The leaders did not say what, if any, actions they would take if Russian Federation does not comply. The Skripals remain in critical condition.

According to May, it is "highly likely" that Russian Federation was responsible for the condition of the double agent and his daughter who were both poisoned with a military grade nerve agent developed by Moscow.

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