Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov confirms intention to expel British diplomats

British military personnel helped to identify the nerve agent used in the March 4 poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal in SalisburyMore

US President Donald Trump demanded an explanation from Moscow over the poisoning of a former spy in Britain as London's deadline for answers expired, with Russian Federation threatening retribution if it is punished for the Cold War intrigue.

Russian Federation denies being the source of the nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals.

The poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal provided the United Kingdom authorities with a "possibility to launch this anti-Russian campaign", said Mr Yakovenko, adding: "This is a scenario that was written in London but it's a short-sighted scenario because, in the long run, Britain will have to explain what is behind all these things in Salisbury".

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

The Investigative Committee did not explain why it opened the probes, but Russian officials - including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - have accused British authorties of failing to provide Moscow with information about their investigation into the nerve-agent exposure, and suggested that they had a right to be involved because Yulia Skripal is a Russian citizen.

"They will be appropriate, comparable - I think here there is no need to get hung up on words - mirror measures absolutely appropriate to the situation", she said on Russia's Channel 1.

He argued "boorish and unfounded" accusations against Russian Federation, "reflect the hopeless situation the British Government has found itself in when it can't meet the obligations given to the public in connection with exit from the EU". The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons also says it expects action soon in response to the British investigation.

Russia's envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told The AP that his country has no stocks of the Novichok group of nerve agents, insisting that Soviet-era research into the agents was totally dismantled before Russian Federation joined the organization. Peskov reiterated Russian denials of involvement in the attack that has left both Skripals in critical condition.

Russian Federation has refused Britain's demands to explain how Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military, was used against the Skripals in the English city of Salisbury.

They condemned Russian Federation and said it was a breach of worldwide law that "threatens the security of us all".

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday that Moscow would expand its own "black list" of Americans, adding that additional measures have not yet been ruled out.

In a response, Russian Federation has called the allegations "shocking and unforgivable" and a breach of diplomatic rules of decent behaviour.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the "unacceptable" attack in Salisbury occurred "against the backdrop of a reckless pattern of Russian behavior over many years".

On Thursday May visited Salisbury and said the attack "could have happened anywhere" and the UK's allies were taking a united stance.

"These people are gone - the man and his daughter".

Salisbury District Hospital has also assessed 46 people who came forward expressing health concerns but they were not admitted. That person is being monitored as an outpatient.

In 2006, green tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 was used to murder ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, a critic of the Kremlin, in London.

The diplomatic tension increased further Friday afternoon when London's Metropolitan Police said it is treating as murder the death of Nikolai Glushkov, a close associate of Putin opponent Boris Berezovsky _ a onetime billionaire who was himself found hanging dead in 2013 in his house outside London.



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