Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

'Nonsense' Russia would poison spy: Putin

'Nonsense' Russia would poison spy: Putin

"Russia does not have any such agents, we destroyed it all".

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday (March 18) rubbished claims that Russian Federation poisoned a former spy in Britain, on the eve of global chemical weapons experts heading to Britain to probe the attack. British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russian Federation of "an unlawful use of force" against her country.

"We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russian Federation has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok", Johnson told the BBC on March 18.

Officials from the world's chemical weapons watchdog will arrive in Britain on Monday to investigate the samples used in the attack and the results should be known in about two weeks, Britain's foreign ministry said. The OPCW, based in The Hague, implements the Chemical Weapons Convention. Even today, no country outside Russian Federation is known to have developed the substance.

The team from The Hague will use worldwide laboratories to carry out tests on the nerve agent.

He said "they have been producing and stockpiling Novichok, contrary to what they have been saying". It says they are stored securely and disposed of safely when no longer required.

"Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country".

Mr Johnson said the reaction across the Government, Parliament and the wider country had been "hugely encouraging" but he hit out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who came under fire on Wednesday after failing to offer explicit support for the Prime Minister's approach in the House of Commons.

"We gave the Russians every opportunity to come up with an alternative hypothesis, such as the one that you have just described, and they haven't".

"Their response has been a mix of smug sarcasm and denial and obfuscation", he said.

Speaking at the Conservative Spring Forum, Mrs May said the Government had "anticipated" a similar response to her action earlier this week to expel 23 Russian diplomats from London. On Sunday, Johnson wrote that Britain is not alone in facing Russia's "reckless behavior".

"We will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort, which is an attack not only on the United Kingdom, but upon the worldwide rules-based system on which all countries, including Russian Federation, depend for their safety and security", Bristow said.

Britain and Russian Federation have each expelled 23 diplomats, broken off high-level contacts and taken other punitive steps in the escalating tit-for-tat dispute, which clouded the run-up to Sunday's presidential election in Russian Federation.

"In case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures - this is what the British Ambassador was told on Saturday", he said. The British Council is a cultural institute with artistic, language and educational programs.

The poisoning in the English city of Salisbury on March 4 has led to a diplomatic crisis, with Britain expelling 23 Kremlin diplomats.

France, Germany and the United States joined the United Kingdom on Thursday in condemning the attack.

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