Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats in stand-off over spy poisoning

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday he hoped that former double agent Sergei Skripal recovers from a nerve agent attack in Britain so that he can shed light on what happened, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Johnson told reporters that Britain has information that within the last 10 years, "the Russian state has been engaged in investigating the delivery of such agents, Novichok agents. very likely for the purposes of assassination".

'The Prime Minister thanked the President for his ongoing support, including at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the United Nations Security Council and in the OPCW, and they agreed to remain in close contact as the situation developed and in the run up to the March European Council meeting where this would be discussed'.

"These will then be despatched to highly-reputable worldwide laboratories selected by the OPCW for testing with results expected to take a minimum of two weeks", said a Foreign Office statement.

The retaliation comes a day before Russians head to the polls for an election in which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win a second term.

The newspaper also said that Ms Skripal had worked in the US Embassy in Moscow.

In an op-ed Sunday for The Sun, Johnson said the Salisbury poisoning was the "latest brazen defiance of global rules" citing the Crimea annexation, cyberattacks in Ukraine, and Russia's interference in European elections.

"When you have a nerve agent or whatever you check it against certain samples that you retain in your laboratory", Chizhov told the BBC on Sunday.

On Thursday May visited Salisbury, meeting police and medics and viewing the site where the Skripals were found critically ill.

Asked whether he was saying that Porton Down was responsible, Chizhov replied: "I don't know".

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Mr Lavrov dismissed the British Government's insistence that the attack in Salisbury, Wilts, was backed by the Kremlin.

They said Russia's failure to respond to Britain's "legitimate request" for an explanation "further underlines its responsibility" in the attack in southern England.

Britain's foreign minister said Sunday that he has evidence Russia has been stockpiling a nerve agent in violation of worldwide law, after a Russian envoy suggested the toxin used to poison a former spy in England could have come from a United Kingdom lab.

Western powers see the poisoning of the Skripals as the latest sign of increasingly aggressive Russian interference in foreign countries.

He said these could include "defending ourselves against cyber-attack, (and) looking at any economic measures that could be taken against Russians who corruptly obtained their wealth".

CBS disclosed the name of the bomber, Salman Abedi, citing U.S. sources, at a time when the British authorities were asking media to withhold the information to protect the investigation.

Writing in the Guardian he warned against a "new Cold War" of "escalating arms spending, proxy conflicts across the globe and a McCarthyite intolerance of dissent".

May said Britain would also clamp down on murky Russian money and strengthen the government's ability to impose sanctions on those who abuse human rights, though she gave few details.

France initially condemned the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter on Tuesday and expressed solidarity with Britain.

"We don't have any improvements, everything is only getting worse", she said.

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