Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Boris Johnson says it's likely Putin personally ordered United Kingdom attack

Boris Johnson says it's likely Putin personally ordered United Kingdom attack

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Friday that it was overwhelmingly likely that Russian President Vladimir Putin himself made the decision to use a military-grade nerve toxin to strike down a former Russian agent on English soil.

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

He added: "Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin, and with his decision - and we think it 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".

Peskov emphasized that "we have repeatedly said that Russian Federation has no relation to that".

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia gave a calm but sharply worded response to yesterday's antics at the UN Security Council, where U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and British Ambassador Jonathan Allen hurled accusations that Russia is guilty of poisoning former MI6 double agent, former Russian GRU Col. Sergei Skripal and his daughter, and "must be held accountable".

"That does not mean we should resign ourselves to a "new Cold War" of escalating arms spending, proxy conflicts across the globe and a McCarthyite intolerance of dissent", he said.

Russian Federation denies being the source of the nerve agent, suggesting it could have been another country, and has demanded Britain share samples collected by investigators.

On Friday, Russia's Investigative Committee said it had launched its own criminal proceedings in connection with the "attempted murder of a Russian citizen, Yulia Skripal" in Salisbury and what it called the "murder" of Nikolai Glushkov in London.

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Britain is expelling 23 Russian diplomats and taking other steps against Russian interests as the two nations' relations plummet.

Putin's spokesman branded the allegations "shocking and unforgivable" as Russian Federation continues to deny any involvement in the UK.

Russia's envoy at the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog says the nerve agent used could have come from US or British stockpiles.

Shulgin said that Russian Federation expects Britain to provide samples of the nerve agent in line with OPCW rules.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office says Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull has joined her in condemnation of the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in southwestern England. "There is to be no Russophobia as a result of what has happened", he said.

Counterterrorism police are leading the investigation "because of the associations Mr. Glushkov is believed to have had", a police statement 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".

While many British politicians have backed the government in blaming Moscow for the nerve agent attack, the U.K.'s main opposition leader has cautioned against a rush to judgment.

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